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Demography and Nation

Social Legislation and Population Policy in Bulgaria, 1918–1944

By Svetla Baloutzova

Publication Year: 2011

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.

Published by: Central European University Press

Series: CEU Press Studies in the History of Medicine

Series Title Page

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. v-viii

Transliteration table of Bulgarian Cyrillic

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p. ix-ix

List of Tables

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p. x-x


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pp. xi-xii

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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...

Part I: Regenerating a Defeated Nation

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Chapter 1: Building up a Maternal and Child Healthcare Service

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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...

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Chapter 2: Public Assistance

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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...

Part II: Towards Pronatalism

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Chapter 3: Demography, Media representations, and Parliamentary Discourse

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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...

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Chapter 4: Activities “From Below”: The League of Mnogodetni, Child-Rich Parents

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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...

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Chapter 5: Petŭr Gabrovski and the Law for Large, Mnogodetni Bulgarian Families

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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...

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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...


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pp. 253-276


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pp. 277-280

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9786155211928
Print-ISBN-13: 9789639776661

Page Count: 294
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: CEU Press Studies in the History of Medicine