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The Global Spread of Fertility DeclinePopulation, Fear, and Uncertainty$
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Jay Winter and Michael Teitelbaum

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300139068

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300139068.001.0001

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Putting the Politics Back In

(p.245) Eight Conclusion
The Global Spread of Fertility Decline

Jay Winter

Michael Teitelbaum

Yale University Press

This chapter defines politics as that network of power relationships extending from the family to the neighborhood, to the village, to the region, to the nation state, and beyond it. It is in these networks of unequal actors that the linkage among economic forces and cultural practices are negotiated. One way in which politics can be configured usefully in discussions of fertility decisions is in terms of Beck's hypothesis of the “Risk Society.” Derived from changes in norms about gender roles in Europe, this framework has uses in other contexts as well. Chinese villagers making decisions about their family size face risks of a different character but make their own assessments, which the “risk hypothesis” helps to illuminate. Village elders govern the decisions of individual couples under Communism, just as they have done for centuries in China, but for decades now, there has also been a state framework promoting the one-child family.

Keywords:   politics, power relationships, economic forces, cultural practices, fertility decisions

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