The anthropologist Marvin Harris (1977, 1990) argues that "human modes of reproduction are modifiable" and that societies will attempt to influence fertility outcomes by legislating pronatalist behavior among their citizens. He argued that these efforts were cyclical and triggered by concerns over population size or composition shifts. The model suggested that during a pronatalist cycle, there is an increased emphasis on “traditional marriage” and the introduction of more severe social and legal sanctions against groups and behaviors not conforming to this expectation, particularly among LGBTQ communities and the use of pregnancy avoidance technology. Because this behavior represents a cyclical pattern, the laws and social norms established during anticatalyst periods are upended, resulting in significant societal disruptions and uncertainty. This population-driven pronatalist framework is currently being exhibited as an international phenomenon. Western nations, including the United States, Italy, Germany, and Poland, have introduced extreme pronatalist policies. Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific nations, including Japan, China, Korea, and Singapore, attempt to change fertility patterns in response to the consequences of earlier anti-natalist behaviors. This presentation will look at the underlying population structures that drive the observed international pronatalist policy implementation. Declining birth rates, in concert with increased longevity and the growth of the elder population worldwide, drive many pronatalist concerns. More pernicious and less explored are the concerns over shifts in population composition due to migration and differential fertility behaviors seen among non-dominant ethnic populations. By placing current pronatalist policies within a historical context, we can better understand the population drivers that drive these behaviors.
James McNally, University of Michigan, United States
About the Presenter(s)
Dr James McNally is a University Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer at University of Michigan in United States
See this presentation on the full schedule – Sunday Schedule