Between Quality and Quantity: The Population Council and the Politics of 'Science-making' in Eugenics and Demography, 1952- 1965

by Edmund Ramsden

Jan 1, 2001
The Population Council is one of the leading demographic organizations of the post-war era and was a powerful force in the reconstruction of post-war population studies in the United States. It is thus of critical importance to my attempt to understand the relationship between demography and eugenics in Britain and the United States. Regarding this relationship, an analysis of the Population Council records and the papers of John D. Rockefeller 3rd allow us insights into two closely interrelated processes, that of the institutionalization of demography in the United States as a social science, becoming both an intensely rigorous and "hard" discipline, yet one of the most practical and policy oriented areas of expertise; and the transition in the official eugenic position, that is of the American Eugenics Society (AES), from a conservative and biologically determinist, "mainline" eugenics, to a more "environmentally friendly," welfare and democracy-oriented, "social" or "reform" eugenics.
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