Religion and the Decline of Fertility in the Western World by Renzo Derosas, Frans van Poppel

By Renzo Derosas, Frans van Poppel

The impression of faith on kinfolk and replica is without doubt one of the such a lot attention-grabbing and complicated themes open to scholarly learn. The linkage among relatives and faith has obtained no systematic therapy on a comparative foundation, both within the social sciences or in old experiences. This booklet presents new insights into the relationships among faith and demography throughout the the most important interval of the 19th and early 20th century. except delivering a wealth of descriptive details on relatives lifestyles and fertility in numerous nationwide and spiritual settings, the foremost energy of the ebook lies in its conceptual insights. The booklet will allure and stimulate readers on the complex undergraduate or on the graduate point in historical past, non secular reports, women’s reviews, kin experiences, social demography, sociology, and anthropology because of its subject material (moral matters relating to fertility decline and kin switch performed a big position in methods like secularisation, and spiritual secessions in the19th and 20th century), its analytical strategy (all chapters utilize micro-level facts on family members and family members measurement and use similar statistical equipment particularly fitted to some of these data), and its theoretical orientation (the chapters explicitly concentrate on the range of mechanisms through which religions had an impact on kin existence and fertility). The e-book is actually cross-cultural, exhibiting the similarities in addition to the variations within the positions of many of the church buildings on issues vital for copy in Western Europe, the U.S. and Canada within the interval 1850-1950. the honour of the factors of adaptations in kin measurement some time past offers a fresh point of view on modern results of faith on reproductive behaviour and the family.

"This quantity effectively promotes an time table for examine at the advanced and numerous old relationships among fertility, identification, group and religion." Simon Szreter, Fellow of St John's collage, Cambridge

"These well-researched and lucidly argued papers will offer very important interpreting for all these attracted to the spiritual historical past of the 19th century." Hugh McLeod is Professor of Church historical past on the collage of Birmingham

"This is a truly important new source for students, either verified and new, to appreciate the position of non secular associations in relatives and demographic habit and the ways that these behaviors swap throughout lengthy classes of time." Arland Thornton, Director, inhabitants reviews middle, collage of Michigan

"This publication indicates additionally that sleek demographic and social historical past is ready to revive the earlier in methods unthinkable just a new release ago." Massimo Livi-Bacci is Professor of Demography, college of Florence, and honorary president of the "International Union for the medical learn of Population".

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Additional info for Religion and the Decline of Fertility in the Western World

Example text

The point here is that political and religious forces often combined to control public debates over modern fertility limitation, which helped to create and reinforce powerful group identities. Thus, the construction of pro-natalist doctrine can best be seen not as the result of the lingering effects of “traditional” Christianity but as part of a very modern process of identity formation and popular mobilization leading to the association of large families with various religious groups. Kevin McQuillan (2004) has recently recalled how, for a period from the late nineteenth century until the 1960s, the cooperation of the Canadian national state and Catholic Church helped to shape Quebecers’ fertility.

As many recent commentators have noted, even the opposition of the Catholic Church to the modern birth control movement was highly reactive rather than proactive, seeking to mobilize its members and entering the public debate only after advocates had tried to claim a place for their own views in the public “marketplace of ideas” (Tobin 2001: 65). Even mid-twentieth-century critics who were hostile to the Catholic Church for its role in retarding the adoption of fertility limitation admitted frankly that the church’s entry into public discussions had occurred only in the previous fifty years and that: “Once the floodgates of discussion were open the Church authorities realized that they must try and direct the dangerous waters of controversy into clerically-approved channels” (Campbell 1960: 132).

Of great interest are the reportedly high levels of dispute among Muslims and others who disagree on whether or to what extent Islam forbids various techniques of birth control or fertility limitation (Omran 1992; Knodel, Gray, Sriwatcharin, and Peracca 1999). Here, as in the history of Christian doctrine, practices have varied by time period, national culture, and the degree to which an association between religiosity and high fertility has been integrated into political discourse. It seems no accident that the pro-natalist elements of Muslim tradition should emerge, and be constructed as part of a timeless “tradition” at the same time that many Muslims are seeking a greater political voice in their own societies as well as globally.

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