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Demography and Nation

Demography and Nation: Social Legislation and Population Policy in Bulgaria

Svetla Baloutzova
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Pages: 293
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  • Book Info
    Demography and Nation
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-615-5211-92-8
    Subjects: Population Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
    (pp. ix-ix)
    (pp. x-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. 1-40)

    In 2005, the European Commission published the Green Paper Confronting Demographic Change:A New Solidarity between the Generations, which addressed the latest developments in Europe’s demographic situation, and, in particular, outlined the challenges of a new demographic “crisis.” The Paper implied a positive correlation between economic performance and population growth, placed in the context of the combination of reduction in birth numbers, ageing, and the dwindling potentials for immigration. The Green Paper noted that the fertility rate within the EU had fallen below the threshold to renew the population (around 2.1 children per woman), and in many Member states below 1.5...


    • CHAPTER I Building up a Maternal and Child Healthcare Service
      (pp. 43-82)

      Economic destruction, political instability and demoralization followed a series of failures to achieve national unification through war. In the expressive and metaphorical language of Dr Raiko Daskalov,¹ Minister of the Interior and People’s Health (1922–1923), Bulgaria resembled a “sick man on his death bed,” desperate, helpless, and with no self-esteem, “staring at his open grave.”² It thus became the BANU’S duty and responsibility to “close the gaping grave” and “wash, cleanse and balm the ulcers full of coagulated blood and puss, placing clean and disinfected dressings on the wounds.”³ Numerous social reforms were undertaken in practice or initiated legislatively...

    • CHAPTER II Public Assistance
      (pp. 83-124)

      In the second half of the 1930s and the early 1940s, the scope of state policies in the social welfare field expanded, and the state intervened directly in the family under the form of the 1934 Decree-Law for Public Assistance. The latter broadly targeted the most vulnerable social groups—”the absolutely destitute”¹—and child welfare became one of its main objectives. In the course of the following decade, public assistance became an umbrellaterm under which new state legislative initiatives in the field of child welfare were enacted or former laws were amended and incorporated. Such were the amended Law...


    • CHAPTER III Demography, Media Representations, and Parliamentary Discourse
      (pp. 127-168)

      In the late 1930s, the notion that the country was suffering from a “spiritual crisis” infiltrated Bulgarian public space, imbuing it with the ultra-nationalistic and fascist ideology of neo-traditionalism.¹ External, and especially international factors, such as Marxist, bolshevist, pacifist, or cosmopolitan influences, were blamed for the alleged cultural disintegration. Appeals were raised to resist the encroachment of the “superficial, ultramodern” and “dying” Western civilization, which was threatening to “demolish the moral foundations and family virtues” of Bulgarian society. The “random, aimless copying of alien cultures” had to be rejected in favor of a distinct Bulgarian, Volk culture, reflecting the nation’s...

    • CHAPTER IV Activities “from Below”: The League of Mnogodetni, Child-Rich Parents
      (pp. 169-206)

      In 1939, a grassroots organization came to the political forefront and became an energetic vehicle for promoting the welfare of child-rich, mnogodetni parents and especially, those of poor peasant families. Thriving in increasingly authoritarian times, the League boldly took the initiative to urge the state to intervene in favor of the vast bulk of economically underprivileged citizens by granting child allowances and railway fare and school-tax discounts and by reformulating the tax system to the benefit of large families. More than anything, the League pressed for a more socially just land redistribution, a project subsequently initiated by the state in...

    • CHAPTER V Petŭr Gabrovski and the Law for Large, Mnogodetni Bulgarian Families
      (pp. 207-244)

      It was Petŭr Gabrovski, Minister of the Interior and People’s Health, who imposed his own vision of a Bill for Bulgarian Large, Mnogodetni Families on the National Assembly for discussion and acceptance. By 31 March 1943, however, when Bulgaria’s first pronatalist law was enacted, the political situation of the country had changed dramatically, both internationally and domestically. In 1941, Bulgaria had formally joined the Tripartite Pact and hence the Second World War. In a peaceful, revisionist act she had reacquired the territories of Southern Dobrudzha to which she had long aspired and secured a much-coveted outlet to the Aegean. Yet...

    (pp. 245-252)

    This work has attempted to investigate the link between population trends, social policy, and the national good in one part of early twentieth-century Southeastern Europe. In particular, it has focused on the origins of Bulgaria’s pronatalist policies, tracing them back to their roots in the country’s pre-Communist past. It has sought to provide a detailed account of the evolution of Bulgaria’s population concerns— from the country’s qualitative concerns in the immediate aftermath of the First World War, to their rather pronounced, quantitative expression during the Second World War. In particular, this study is the first endeavor in the field of...

    (pp. 253-276)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 277-280)