Restoring the Notion of Family in France: Pronatalist and Pro-Family Propaganda in Schools and Army Barracks (1920-1940)

By De Luca, Virginie | Population, January-April 2005 | Go to article overview

Restoring the Notion of Family in France: Pronatalist and Pro-Family Propaganda in Schools and Army Barracks (1920-1940)


De Luca, Virginie, Population


Article 142 of the law of 29 July 1939, known as the Family Code (Code de la famille), requires that population issues be taught in schools. It states that "the teaching of demographic issues in their statistical aspects and their relation to questions of morals and family is obligatory for all teachers and all students at every level of education and in all public and private educational establishments". This text was promulgated by the Haut comité de la population (Senior committee for population) created in 1939, which had only a transitory existence before it was abolished by the Vichy government. But the wheels had been set in motion. From 1941 on, under the aegis of the secretary of state for family and health, pamphlets and manuals were produced in growing numbers. However, although the Family Code has been the subject of recent studies (Chauvière, 1992; Chauvière and Bussat, 2000; Rosental, 2003), they only mention the establishment of "the teaching of population problems" and do not discuss its origins. The present article aims to trace the genesis of the introduction of population questions in schools and to understand why this teaching was given a statistical and moral content.

Archives and printed sources provide information on the movements which initiated the organization of this teaching, and reveal the monopoly of one association, the Alliance nationale pour l'accroissement de la population française (National alliance for the growth of the French population), with respect to propaganda activities aimed at promoting "pronatalist and pro-family" teaching. Analysis of the establishment and development of this approach shows that it introduced not only population issues but also methods and tools for demographic analysis into French schools. Its advocates thus helped to initiate "literacy in demography" to quote Léon Gani (1993). It was through this militant strategy that demography was brought into schools and army barracks, and was more widely disseminated to a public of non-specialists. As a result, by the late 1940s, a survey showed that a majority of respondents were able to give an opinion on the French population and mention some of its demographic characteristics (Bresard, 1948; Cibois, 1982). However, close examination of the pronatalists' project shows that their objective was to inculcate behaviour and to educate individuals rather than to introduce them to demography and population issues. The definition of Paul Haury, one of the main advocates of the pronatalist cause, bears witness to this "pronatalist and pro-family" teaching:

"Its aim is to prepare for an upturn in the birth rate by strengthening the family feeling in young minds; its method consists in invoking demographic facts and their importance on the one hand, and in developing moral and sociological concepts on the other hand, while illuminating their vital role in the development of societies [...]. The task before us is to create not so much a new topic of study as a whole new attitude that must penetrate the entire curriculum.'(1) (Haury, VIII^sup e^ Congrès de la natalité [8th natality conference], Paris, 1926)

This teaching was thus a tool to serve the pronatalist ideology. The aim was to convince children and young people to adopt a personal itinerary in keeping with the demographic and moral requirements of the nation - i.e. to get married and have children-, in brief, to embody the model supported by the pronatalists which, as Paul-André Rosental notes, "in its extreme forms, subordinates the logic of the individual to that of the nation" (Rosental, 2003, p. 9). This teaching did not aim to supply the tools necessary for an intellectual process or to introduce a new discipline into schools, but rather to infiltrate all the other disciplines so as to provide an incessant reminder of the advocated cause. Nevertheless, specific tools and notions peculiar to demography (population pyramids, distribution by age and sex, the renewal of generations) came into widespread use as a result (Baccaïni and Gani, 2002). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Restoring the Notion of Family in France: Pronatalist and Pro-Family Propaganda in Schools and Army Barracks (1920-1940)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.