The lecture will address the politics of demographic panics the world over, which are entangled with geo-politics and the increasing strength of ethno-national identities. Imaginations of the purity of the nation, perceptions of differential fertility rates coupled with increasing international migration fuel pro-natalist discourses and policies especially in Eastern Europe, which is also witnessing a strong anti-feminist and anti-LGBTQ rights backlash. The same mix of factors, however, lead to selective anti-natalism for the poor and for religious minorities in India, for example, where a model of economic development based on neo-Malthusian premises continues to animate a state-driven population control program. The contemporary dynamics of the governance of reproduction in a world imagined as simultaneously under-populated and over-populated will be considered against the background of the global history of (post)- colonial population control.
Shalini Randeria is Rector of the Institute of Human Sciences (IWM), Vienna and Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva, where she directs the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy. She researches the anthropology of globalization, modernity and the state focusing on law, dispossession and the commons in a post-colonial perspective.