Eugenics and the State: Policy-Making in Comparative Perspective

Véronique Mottier

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780195373141
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Eugenics and the State: Policy-Making in Comparative Perspective


This article proposes to shift the focus from eugenic science to its translation into concrete policy practices, adopting a comparative perspective. It draws on examples of eugenic policy-making in the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, and Germany to explore the relation between eugenic science and the state, examining the impact of different state formations on cross-national variations in the political trajectories of eugenics. Eugenic movements were thus able to exert important influence on these states' policy-making apparatuses. This article also discusses the affect of specific institutional design on the ways in which eugenic policies are implemented. It also deals with political spectrum of eugenics and tends to amalgamate eugenics with conservative and extreme right-wing political ideologies.

Keywords: eugenic; policy-making; institutional design; political trajectories; state formations

Article.  9243 words. 

Subjects: History ; International History

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