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Eugenics and Social Security in France before and after the Vichy Regime

Abstract : Historiography of French eugenics has long been hindered by a mechanistic conception derived from history of ideas, which postulated that it was incompatible with pronatalism and catholicism, with republicanism and Lamarckism; and that it simply collapsed after World War II. The reference to the transnational model of «Latin eugenics» redirects the thinking around a more plastic definition of eugenics that stresses its connections with social hygiene, in order to better understand the conversions it has undergone after 1945 in connection with the circulation of scientific and administrative models. Beyond medicine and psychiatry, genetics and occupational medicine, are particularly concerned demography, biotypology, educational and occupational choice, the fight against alcoholism, and of course family planning. Eugenics has also paradoxically contributed to the psychologization of human relationships. Taking it seriously allows historians to return to the issue of norms underlying population, social and health policies over the past century.
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Paul-Andre Rosental. Eugenics and Social Security in France before and after the Vichy Regime. Journal of Modern European History, 2012, 10 (4), pp.540 - 562. ⟨10.13140/RG.2.1.4763.9521⟩. ⟨hal-03418026⟩

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