Birth controlled

Selective reproduction and neoliberal eugenics in South Africa and India

Editor: Amrita Pande

This book analyses the world of selective reproduction – the politics of who gets to legitimately reproduce the future – by a cross-cultural analysis of three modes of ‘controlling’ birth: contraception, reproductive violence, and repro-genetic technologies. The premise is that as fertility rates decline worldwide, the fervour to control fertility, and fertile bodies, does not dissipate; what evolves is the preferred mode of control. Although new technologies, for instance those that assist conception and/or allow genetic selection, may appear to be the antithesis of violent versions of population control, the book demonstrates that both are part of the same continuum. Much as all population control policies target and vilify (Black) women for their over-fertility, and coerce/induce them into subjecting their bodies to state and medical surveillance, assisted reproductive technologies and repro-genetic technologies have a similar and stratified burden of blame and responsibility based on gender, race, class, and caste. The book includes contributions from two postcolonial nations – South Africa and India – where the history of colonialism and the economics of neoliberal markets allow for some parallel moments of selecting who gets to legitimately reproduce the future. The book provides a critical interdisciplinary and cutting-edge dialogue around the interconnected issues that shape reproductive politics in an ostensibly ‘post-population control’ era. The contributions range from gender studies, sociology, medical anthropology, politics, science and technology studies, to theology, public health, epidemiology and women’s health, with the aim of facilitating an interdisciplinary dialogue around the interconnected modes of controlling birth and practices of neo-eugenics.

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