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Guardians of the Nation: pronatalism, fertility politics, and the multi-child family movement in Greece

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The pan-European phenomenon of low fertility greatly concerns governments, with the majority stating that their fertility is ‘too low’ and that policies are needed to either raise or maintain it (UN 2008). Due to their controversial nature, however, most countries in Europe do not have any explicitly pronatalist initiatives in place. While state-sponsored projects to boost fertility are some of the most extensively studied forms of pronatalism (Bock 1991; Kligman 1998), civil society organisations are likely to be the leaders of pronatalist ideological projects in nations with strong liberal traditions (Brown and Ferree 2005). This paper examines the role of civil society in promoting policies that encourage childbearing among some or all members of a civil, ethnic, or national group, by focusing on the case of Greece. The Greek government and public are anxious about what is widely known as the ‘demographic problem’, the primary component of which is ‘lowest-low’ fertility (Georgiadis 2006). Numerous schemes are available to assist families with four or more children (polyteknoi), gradually in the process of being extended to those with three children (triteknoi). In this paper I will present findings from a series of in-depth, semi-structured, qualitative interviews with members of a Greek pro-(large)family civil society organisations(conducted in Athens in January 2010), which disclosed their role in influencing pronatalist discourse and the country’s family policy agenda.

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en

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application/vnd.ms-powerpoint

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/29469/1/BSPS_Presentation.ppt

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