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An unlikely convergence, 1890–1940

This book focuses on the apparently surprising convergence between anarchism and eugenics. By tracing the reception of eugenic ideas within five different anarchist movements –Argentina, England, France, Portugal and Spain – the book argues that, in fact, there is ample evidence for anarchist interest in, and implementation of, some form of eugenics. The author argues that this intersection between anarchism and eugenics can be understood as an emanation from anarchism’s nineteenth-century legacy, which harnessed science as a means to change the social world and an ideological commitment to voluntarism as a political praxis. Through the articulation of interest in birth control, ‘neo-Malthusianism’, freedom to choose for women and revolutionary objectives, many anarchists across these five countries provided the basis for the creation of ‘anarchist eugenics’ in the early twentieth century.

Richard Cleminson

1 The ‘paradox’ of anarchism and eugenics Introduction In 1933, the anarcho-pacifist Romanian intellectual Eugen Relgis explored the conundrum of humanitarianism as applied to eugenics in the Valenciabased anarchist cultural review Estudios.1 Could there be, the author asked, a community of interests or any compatibility between the philosophical and ethical concept of humanitarianism and the new science of eugenics? Relgis, active in the anti-war movement and a supporter of the Spanish Republic, certainly thought so. Nevertheless, his attempt to articulate a

in Anarchism and eugenics
Richard Cleminson

3 Early discourse on eugenics within transnational anarchism, 1890–1920 In his opening address to the 1919 conference of the Permanent International Eugenics Committee, the geologist, palaeontologist and eugenicist Henry Fairfield Osborn lamented the existence of a dire ‘political sophistry’ in his own country, the United States. The assumption that ‘all people are born with the equal same rights and duties’ had become entangled with the notion that ‘all people are born with equal character and ability to govern themselves and others.’1 Osborn went on to impress

in Anarchism and eugenics
Richard Cleminson

4 From neo-Malthusianism to eugenics as a ‘revolutionary conquest’, 1920–1937 Introduction Reflecting on some sixty years of debate on sterilization, C. P. Blacker, the British psychiatrist and former secretary (1931–1952) of the Eugenics Society, recognized in 1962 that despite the ‘promising climate’ of the early 1930s, enthusiasm for such a measure had all but evaporated by the end of the decade.1 The reasons for this decline in fortune were diverse. Among them were the situation in Germany and the awareness of the questionable political and racial uses of

in Anarchism and eugenics
The constitutive terrain of anarchist eugenics
Richard Cleminson

2 Science, revolution and progress: the constitutive terrain of anarchist eugenics Introduction The central proposition of eugenics – that it was possible, desirable and necessary to augment the ‘best’ stocks and combat the proliferation of the ‘unfit’ – drew on a cluster of nineteenth-century anxieties about the rate, consistency and sustainability of social and biological progress. The question posed was how best this progress could be achieved and maintained. In 1883, Francis Galton identified the characteristics of a new science that aimed to do just this.1

in Anarchism and eugenics
David Starr Jordan, eugenics and the Anglo-American anti-war movement
Gavin Baird and Bradley W. Hart

12 The Stanford connection: David Starr Jordan, eugenics and the Anglo-American anti-war movement Gavin Baird and Bradley W. Hart As Europe descended into the abyss of war in the late summer of 1914, one of the world’s best-known peace advocates was visiting the genteel surroundings of Cambridge University. Shocked by the rapid escalation of violence and realising that his life’s mission of preventing young men from being sent to die on the battlefield had failed, this high-profile academic bemoaned that the mere ‘incident’ of Franz Ferdinand’s assassination

in Labour, British radicalism and the First World War
Editors: Lucy Bland and Richard Carr

This volume offers a series of new essays on the British left – broadly interpreted – during the First World War. Dealing with grassroots case studies of unionism from Bristol to the North East of England, and of high politics in Westminster, these essays probe what changed, and what remained more or less static, in terms of labour relations. For those interested in class, gender, and parliamentary politics or the interplay of ideas between Britain and places such as America, Ireland and Russia, this work has much to offer. From Charlie Chaplin to Ellen Wilkinson, this work paints a broad canvass of British radicalism during the Great War.

Encounters with biosocial power
Author: Kevin Ryan

Refiguring childhood stages a series of encounters with biosocial power, which is a specific zone of intensity within the more encompassing arena of biopower and biopolitics. Assembled at the intersection of thought and practice, biosocial power attempts to bring envisioned futures into the present, taking hold of life in the form of childhood, thereby bridging being and becoming while also shaping the power relations that encapsulate the social and cultural world(s) of adults and children. Taking up a critical perspective which is attentive to the contingency of childhoods – the ways in which particular childhoods are constituted and configured – the method used in the book is a transversal genealogy that moves between past and present while also crossing a series of discourses and practices framed by children’s rights (the right to play), citizenship, health, disadvantage and entrepreneurship education. The overarching analysis converges on contemporary neoliberal enterprise culture, which is approached as a conjuncture that helps to explain, and also to trouble, the growing emphasis on the agency and rights of children. It is against the backdrop of this problematic that the book makes its case for refiguring childhood. Focusing on the how, where and when of biosocial power, Refiguring childhood will appeal to researchers and students interested in examining the relationship between power and childhood through the lens of social and political theory, sociology, cultural studies, history and geography.

Open Access (free)
Environmental justice and citizen science in a post-truth age
Editors: Thom Davies and Alice Mah

This book examines the relationship between environmental justice and citizen science, focusing on enduring issues and new challenges in a post-truth age. Debates over science, facts, and values have always been pivotal within environmental justice struggles. For decades, environmental justice activists have campaigned against the misuses of science, while at the same time engaging in community-led citizen science. However, post-truth politics has threatened science itself. This book makes the case for the importance of science, knowledge, and data that are produced by and for ordinary people living with environmental risks and hazards. The international, interdisciplinary contributions range from grassroots environmental justice struggles in American hog country and contaminated indigenous communities, to local environmental controversies in Spain and China, to questions about “knowledge justice,” citizenship, participation, and data in citizen science surrounding toxicity. The book features inspiring studies of community-based participatory environmental health and justice research; different ways of sensing, witnessing, and interpreting environmental injustice; political strategies for seeking environmental justice; and ways of expanding the concepts and forms of engagement of citizen science around the world. While the book will be of critical interest to specialists in social and environmental sciences, it will also be accessible to graduate and postgraduate audiences. More broadly, the book will appeal to members of the public interested in social justice issues, as well as community members who are thinking about participating in citizen science and activism. Toxic Truths includes distinguished contributing authors in the field of environmental justice, alongside cutting-edge research from emerging scholars and community activists.

Fern Elsdon-Baker

, the most obvious being the ‘scientific racism’ and eugenics movement, which saw enforced sterilisations in a number of countries worldwide. This may seem like a mere historical concern that relates only to the interwar period and the atrocities of Nazi Germany. However, eugenical programmes were adopted by a number of countries across North and Latin America, Europe, and Asia (Broberg and Rolls-Hansen, 2005; Stepan, 1991; Stone, 2001). It should also not be forgotten that the last of these laws in the USA was not repealed until as late as 1979, and in Alberta

in Science and the politics of openness