Pro-Natalism and Hygienism in France, 1900-1940. The Example of the Fight against Venereal Disease Natalismo y Higienismo en Francia de 1900 a 1940. El ejemplo de la lucha antivenérea Natalisme et hygiénisme en France de 1900 à 1940. L'exemple de la lutte antivénérienne

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Abstract:

How are the criteria of quantity and quality combined in population policies? The fight against “social scourges” in France between 1900 and 1940 is a very interesting case in point, revealing the complexity of the arguments deployed in population policies. Among these scourges, the fight against venereal disease represents an extreme case linked to the representations of sexually transmitted infections. Shameful and therefore unmentionable, these diseases were rarely exposed to public attention, despite concern about depopulation. The questions of population quality and quantity became crystallized around the productivity of marriage. A network of physicians thus took it upon themselves to educate the population about venereal diseases and their adverse effects on the population and the family. The content of this propaganda, notably the anti-venereal films, leaves not doubt as to the role of pro-natalism in health education.

Spanish
¿Cuál es la naturaleza de los lazos entre los criterios de cantidad y calidad en las políticas de población? La lucha contra “los males sociales” en Francia entre 1900 y 1940 constituye un caso particularmente interesante que revela la complejidad de los argumentos movilizados en las políticas demográfi cas. Entre esos males, la lucha antivenérea constituye un caso paroxístico ligado a las representaciones de las enfermedades sexualmente transmisibles. Vergonzosas y así pues ocultadas, estas enfermedades sufren de una ausencia de visibilidad en la escena pública, mientras que la despoblación amenaza. Las cuestiones de calidad y de cantidad de población se cristalizan entonces en torno a la productividad del matrimonio. Una red de médicos emprende la educación de la población sobre los riesgos venéreos y sus consecuencias demográfi cas y familiares. El contenido de la propaganda, sobre todo los filmes antivenéreos, no deja ninguna duda sobre el lugar que ocupa el natalismo en la educación sanitaria.

French
Quelle est la nature des liens entre les critères de quantité et de qualité des politiques de population ? La lutte contre « les fléaux sociaux » en France entre 1900 et 1940 constitue un cas particulièrement intéressant qui met à jour la complexité des argumentaires mobilisés dans les politiques démographiques. Parmi ces fléaux, la lutte antivénérienne constitue un cas paroxystique lié aux représentations des maladies sexuellement transmissibles. Honteuses donc tues, elles souffrent d'un manque de visibilité sur la scène publique, alors que la dépopulation menace. Les questions de qualité et de quantité de population se cristallisent alors autour de la productivité du mariage. Un réseau de médecins entreprend d'éduquer la population sur les risques vénériens et leurs enjeux démographiques et familiaux. Le contenu de la propagande, notamment les films antivénériens, ne laisse aucun doute sur la place du natalisme dans l'éducation sanitaire.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Population is a peer-reviewed quarterly scientific journal published in English (Population-E) and in French (Population-F). It presents original research in the fields of demography and related disciplines: sociology, economics, anthropology, history, geography, epidemiology and public health, methodology in social science. Contributions can be submitted in either English or French and are published in both languages. Both developed and developing countries are covered. Population trends in different parts of the world are presented in special annual features.
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