Malthusian Worlds : U. S. Leadership and the Governing of the Population Crisis

Overview

Malthusian Worlds examines how US leadership in governing the population crisis pivots around the ability to link international and domestic objectives. The ability of the US to lead, however, is often made possible by the ability of the population crisis to enlist the US as a participant in the desire to regulate the quantity and quality of demographic variables. Thus, a primary insight of Malthusian Worlds is that the US does not govern the population crisis as much as the population crisis governs the US. The ...

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Overview

Malthusian Worlds examines how US leadership in governing the population crisis pivots around the ability to link international and domestic objectives. The ability of the US to lead, however, is often made possible by the ability of the population crisis to enlist the US as a participant in the desire to regulate the quantity and quality of demographic variables. Thus, a primary insight of Malthusian Worlds is that the US does not govern the population crisis as much as the population crisis governs the US. The population crisis governs the US by offering specific problems, forms of knowledge, institutions and proposals for solving a host of public problems in and through the regulation of demographic dynamics.In order to explore how the population crisis governs the United States, Greene returns to the invention of the "Malthusian couple" as an object of government at the beginning of the nineteenth century. He then traces how the Malthusian couple arrived in the US during the twentieth century in order to explicate the contours of a specific governing rationality that Greene identifies as the Malthusian Modern. A second argument advanced in Malthusian Worlds is that the very production of our idea of modernity and the ability to produce modern individuals requires the government of biological reproduction.From the invention of the Malthusian modern, Professor Greene performs a "cartography" of the architecture of the population crisis between the years 1945 and 1975. He labels the desire to invent, circulate and solve the population crisis as the population apparatus. This governing apparatus was built on a particular organization of populations, discourses, institutions, and technologies dedicated to promoting individual, national and global security by disarming the "population bomb." In so doing, the population apparatus fabricated a Malthusian world that linked the reproductive behaviors of different families in different parts of the world, helped to distribute nations and populations into a "three worlds model," and coded population dynamics as a threat to economic, political and environmental security. In order to map the configuration of elements making up the population apparatus, Greene focuses on the discourses and practices associated with development, containment, and environmentalism.Finally, this book ends with efforts to re-organize the building blocs of the population apparatus and to re-deploy US leadership in governing the population apparatus around the programs of sustainable development, women's health and empowerment and the control of human migrations. Greene focuses on the recent challenges to the elements of the population apparatus in order to demonstrate how the Malthusian modern will travel to the twenty-first century and how we might imagine our world otherwise.

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Editorial Reviews

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Looks at how US leadership in dealing with the world population crisis pivots around the ability to link international with domestic objectives, arguing that the US does not govern the population crisis as much as the population crisis governs the US. Traces the development of the 19th-century invention of the "Malthusian couple," and examines the architecture of the population crisis between 1945 and 1975. Focuses on discourses and practices associated with development, containment, and environmentalism, and makes recommendations for programs in sustainable development, women's health, and control of human migrations. Greene is an assistant professor in the department of communication studies at the University of Texas-Austin. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813390734
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 7/15/1999
  • Series: Polemics Series
  • Pages: 273
  • Lexile: 1540L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald Walter Greene is an assistant professor working in the department of communication studies at The University of Texas-Austin. His primary research area concerns the work of rhetorical practices in cultural policies and governmental rationalities dedicated to producing particular forms of citizenship.

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