Pursuing pronatalism: Non-governmental organisations and population and family policy in Sweden and Finland, 1940s–1950s

Sophy Bergenheim, My Klockar Linder

Tutkimustuotos: ArtikkelijulkaisuArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu


The aim of this article is to nuance notions of ‘pronatalism’ by applying it as an analytical concept for studying population and family policy Sweden and Finland in the 1940s and 1950s. This endeavour is pursued by analysing the ideologies and practices of three pronatalist non-governmental organisations from Sweden, Finland and Swedish Finland: the Swedish Population and Family Federation (Befolkningsförbundet Svenska Familjevärnet), the Finnish Population and Family Welfare League (Väestöliitto) and the Swedish Population Federation in Finland (Svenska Befolkningsförbundet i Finland, SBF). All three organisations promoted family-friendly policies, emphasised the need for wide-spread population policy education or ‘propaganda’, and framed pronatalist population policy as a collective issue of the nation or ‘people’, yet with different motivations and framings. Väestöliitto and SBF related the so-called population question to an external threat: the Soviet Union that threatened the geopolitical status of Finland, and the pressure of the Finnish-speaking majority, respectively. In addition, SBF saw that the Finland-Swedes were delusional about their demographic and cultural vulnerability and were hence causing their own demise. Familjevärnet, on the other hand, first and foremost connected family and population policy to the furthering of welfare, solidarity and democracy, primarily within Sweden but also transnationally. Respectively, the organisations also framed motherhood slightly differently. Väestöliitto and SBF portrayed procreation as a civic duty and motherhood as the most important role of women. Familjevärnet also viewed motherhood as an important and natural role for women, yet not as an exclusive civic duty. Rather, it emphasised that all citizens had a duty to contribute to a positive demographic development and family-friendly society, either through procreation or by partaking in the cost of bringing up children.
LehtiHistory of the Family
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaE-pub ahead of print - 10 elokuuta 2020
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä, vertaisarvioitu


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