Demography and Nation

Social Legislation and Population Policy in Bulgaria, 1918–1944
ISBN: 
978-963-9776-66-1
cloth
$50.00 / €45.00/ £40.00
Publication date: 
2011
296 pages

Throughout centuries, authorities have put pains into ‘engineering’ their populations by attempting to regulate the birth and child mortality trends in either direction, or striving to achieve a desired ‘population quality’ design. The book contributes to the historical studies pursued in the social policy and population domain by channelling scholarly curiosity towards the less known path of East Europe.

The monograph investigates the origins of state policy toward population and the family in Bulgaria. Reconstructs the evolution of state legislation in the field of social policy toward the family between the two World Wars, colored by concerns about the national good and demographic considerations. It sets the laws regarding family welfare in their framework of a distinctively cultural, historical and political discourse to follow the motives behind the legislative initiatives.

An important contribution to the interdisciplinary field of social history and historical demography, and a link between the ideological roots of social and population policy in the past and of today.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

TRANSLITERATION TABLE OF BULGARIAN CYRILLIC
LIST OF TABLES

CONTENT

INTRODUCTION
1. OUTLINING THE PROBLEM
• THE OBJECTIVES OF THE RESEARCH
• POPULATION AND POPULATION ANXIETIES FROM A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
2. METHODOLOGY
• APPROACHES: THE ‘REGENERATED’ NARRATIVE
• AGENTS OF RESEARCH AND LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
• INSTRUMENTS OF RESEARCH
• GENERAL LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
• SOURCES
Parliamentary minutes and parliamentary appendixes
Archival units
Mass media: newspapers and magazines
Independent publications

3. A HISTORICAL OUTLINE OF THE PERIOD UNDER INVESTIGATION
• THE PATH TO NEUILLY (1919)
• IDEOLOGICAL DEFINITIONS OF THE ERA
4. SOCIAL AND DEMOGRAPHIC STRUCTURE OF INTERWAR BULGARIA
5. A HISTORY OF BULGARIAN LEGISLATION – AN OUTLINE

PART I: REVITALISING A DEFEATED NATION

CHAPTER 1: BUILDING-UP A MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTHCARE

1. AN ‘ORANGE’ START: THE BANU’S BILL FOR PEOPLE’S HEALTH (1923)
• AN ‘ORANGE’ IDEOLOGY OF HEALTHCARE
• NON-CODIFIED PROVISIONS FOR MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTHCARE
2. THE DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE AND THE 1929 LAW FOR PEOPLE’S HEALTH
• LEGISLATIVE INTRODUCTION OF PREVENTIVE MEDICINE IN BULGARIA
• THE 1929 LAW FOR PEOPLE’S HEALTH AND ITS HISTORICAL LEGACY
• ‘THE WAY THEY SAW IT’: THE PROBLEM OF ‘WISHFUL’ SOCIAL HYGIENE
• CONTRADICTIONS BETWEEN THEORY AND PRACTICE
3. FERTILITY DECREASE AND THE REDISCOVERY OF STATE WELFARE
• THE FAILURE OF THE PROPAGANDA APPROACH
• THE LEGAL REVERSAL

CHAPTER 2: PUBLIC ASSISTANCE

1. STATE PROTECTION OF THE FAMILY: THE PRIVILEGED CHILD
• THE 1934 DECREE-LAW FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE AND ITS LEGISLATIVE AFTERMATH
2. LEGISLATION ON FAMILY ALLOWANCES IN BULGARIA
• INTRODUCING FAMILY ALLOWANCES IN BULGARIA - A HISTORICAL OUTLINE
• THE POLITICAL CONTEXT OF DISCOURSE
• THE DECREE FOR FAMILY ALLOWANCES (1942)
• BINDING SOCIAL WELFARE AND PUBLIC SECURITY
3. THE DISADVANTAGED CHILD: THE LAW FOR CHILDREN BORN OUTSIDE MARRIAGE AND THEIR AVOWAL, AND FOR ADOPTION, NOVEMBER 1940
• EARLY LEGAL DEBATES AND MODERNISATION
• IN THE NAME OF THE CHILD AND ITS MOTHER, AND … SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS
• MOTHERS’ RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S ISSUES
• REFORM BILLS (1924–33)
• ILLEGITIMACY AND MEDIA RESPONSE
• THE LEGAL BREAKTHROUGH (NOVEMBER 1940)

PART II: TOWARDS PRONATALISM

CHAPTER 3: DEMOGRAPHY, MEDIA REPRESENTATIONS AND PARLIAMENTARY DISCOURSE

1. THE ‘DISCOVERY’ OF BIRTH DECLINE
2. DEMOGRAPHERS ON THE ‘COLLAPSING’ DEMOGRAPHIC TREND
3. MASS MEDIA RESPONSES TO FERTILITY DECLINE
• ETHNIC IMBALANCE AND MILITARY ALARM
• POPULATION GROWTH OR POVERTY CONCERNS?
• THE IMAGE OF THE ‘NEW’ FAMILY
4. EARLY PARLIAMENTARY ALARM ABOUT BIRTH DECLINE

CHAPTER 4: ACTIVITIES ‘FROM BELOW’: THE LEAGUE OF LARGE, MNOGODETNI, FAMILIES

1. HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
2. ORGANISATION
• NETWORKS AND NETWORK ACTIVITIES
• CONGRESSES AND SYMBOLISM
• MANAGEMENT AND MEMBERSHIP
• ROLE MODELS
3. COMBATING POVERTY
• CHILD ALLOWANCES, TAX-REVISIONS AND RAILWAY FARE DISCOUNTS
• APPEALS FOR LAND REDISTRIBUTION AND JUSTICE

CHAPTER 5: PETŬR GABROVSKI AND THE LAW FOR LARGE, MNOGODETNI, BULGARIAN FAMILIES
1. IDEOLOGICAL BACKGROUND
2. THE LAW FOR LARGE, MNOGODETNI BULGARIAN FAMILIES
• LEGISLATIVE PREPARATIONS
• INFLUENCES AND MOTIVATION
• DRAFTS AND COMMENTS
• OFFICIAL ADMINISTRATIVE CONSIDERATIONS
• THE FINAL VERSION
3. THE BACHELOR’S TAX CONTROVERSY
4. THE LEGAL AFTERMATH

CONCLUSIONS
• LEGISLATION ON THE FAMILY AND CHILDREN (1918-44)
• AN OVERVIEW OF MOTIVES – ‘THE WAY THEY SAW IT’
• PRIVILEGED AND UNDERPRIVILEGED TARGET GROUPS OF SOCIAL LEGISLATION
• POLITICAL PARTICIPANTS AND PRESSURE ACTIVISTS
• AFTERMATH

"An extremely valuable piece, which should be read by scholars and students working on the global history of demographic thinking and/or on East European history. It is a proper, well-researched historical analysis of several important legislative acts and their political and discursive contexts in Bulgaria, including the 1923 Bill for Public Health, the 1934 Decree-Law for Public Assistance, the gradual development of family allowance, legislation on children born outside marriage and, very importantly, the history of the 1943 law on child-rich families. This nuanced local analysis, with excellent notes on comparative issues, sheds light on many aspects of East European management of population development. If carefully read, the work of Baloutzova, together with the current works of Marius Turda on the interrelationship between nation and eugenics or some of the new pieces on Romania, Hungary and the Balkans, can be excellent starting points in understanding the early twentieth... more
"This book by Svetla Baloutzova is a groundbreaking study of the evolution of social legislation broadly related to population policy in interwar Bulgaria. Exceedingly well written and meticulously researched, the book is not a simple investigation of legal process or policy as the title indicates. Rather it offers a thoroughly contextualized analysis of population-related laws, political programs, and public debate within interwar Bulgaria, while continuously drawing connections to the broader context of European and global cultural concerns and political programs. The setting for the book is post–World War I Bulgaria, demoralized and defeated, transformed by war and its aftermath into a cauldron of mass politics and heightened social expectations. As elsewhere in Europe, the specter of Marxist revolution and the newly forming Soviet state loom large and shape many of the anxieties and political programs of the period. Baloutzova’s narrative highlights the continuities in the... more
"Baloutzova's stated goal is modest-uncovering the early stages of state-instigated family policies, as well as the governmental and popular ideology behind them. Her results, however, are pioneering. No one heretofore has undertaken the meticulous reconstruction of legislative policies. Drawing on a rich variety of sources from a half-dozen Bulgarian repositories-mostly parliamentary minutes and appendixes, archival documentary data from several ministries (tracing the justification of certain bills and investigations), newspapers, and magazines-as well as from personal memoirs, Baloutzova's social history competently maneuvers between issues of historical demography, political history, medical history, and legal studies. Her careful writing skillfully balances the survey component (especially for readers unfamiliar with Bulgarian history) with the specifics of the issue at hand."

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