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The Population Discourse: A Transnational Matrix. The Case of Germany and Sweden

Thomas Etzemüller
Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung
Vol. 36, No. 2 (136), Fertility in the History of the 20th Century: Trends, Theories, Policies, Discourses / Fertilität in der Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts: Trends, Theorien, Politik, Diskurse (2011), pp. 101-119
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41151276
Page Count: 19
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The Population Discourse: A Transnational Matrix. The Case of Germany and Sweden
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Abstract

»Der Bevölkerungsdiskurs. Eine transnationale Matrix. Deutschland und Schweden im Vergleich«. Since the 19th century, the question of population has been discussed in the form of a specific matrix. Population is described as human capital. It can serve a modern nation as a resource if it is biologically and socially optimised, but could also pose a threat if 'degeneration' escalates. Thus, the demographic question is always dealt with in a dualistic manner. The human capitals' ' valuable' part does not breed enough children, the socially or biologically problematic or even 'substandard' part of the population produces far too much offspring. The fact that this pattern shapes the speaking about population transnationally, can be shown by comparing such very different social systems like Sweden and Germany.

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