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Global PopulationHistory, Geopolitics, and Life on Earth$
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Alison Bashford

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231147668

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231147668.001.0001

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The Geopolitics of Birth Control

(p.211) 8 Sex
Global Population

Alison Bashford

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the geopolitics of birth control—more specifically in its implications towards the broader and (during the 1920s) more significant concern of food security and overpopulation. The issue of contraception, birth control, and fertility had long been associated with the private, the intimate, and the ostensibly feminine sphere, with little regard for its impact on the broader scale of international relations, including immigration restrictions, economic development, and the shifting notion of “civilization” following the aftermath of the Second World War. Fertility rates (and conversely, mortality rates) were, after all, among the many complex ecological factors the population theorists of the time were struggling with. As women were increasingly empowered through ownership of their own bodies, they were able to effect a noticeable change within population statistics and thus, greatly influence the larger issue of population growth and resource allocation.

Keywords:   geopolitics, birth control, contraception, fertility, international relations, population growth, food security, overpopulation

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