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The practice of birth control and historical fertility change: Introduction
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Population Studies (CPS).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7439-002X
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Population Studies (CPS).
2010 (English)In: The History of the Family, ISSN 1081-602X, Vol. 15, no 2, 117-124 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This introduction discusses the contributions in the special issue. The articles present results concerning the practice of birth control, mainly at the family level. They represent different analytical approaches where both interviews, letters, surveys and micro-level data have been used. The European fertility decline has made a fundamental change to the societies in the 20th and 21st centuries. Birth control spreads rapidly. Research in this field requires both qualitative and quantitative studies, where both approaches contribute to different perspectives on the transition. The articles in the issue discuss several themes in relation to birth control, of which three are developed in the introduction. These are gender and fertility, gender and health and finally how to control fertility. The presented results demonstrate the importance of including gender in the analyses of the fertility decline. A gender perspective makes it natural to consider historical persons as agents. It is also necessary to acknowledge that we should not treat the married couple as a single unit. They may have conflicting interests, something that several of the articles illustrate. One aspect we would like to emphasize is how health problems can influence the will to have more children and this affects birth control. This is a theme that in different forms is taken up by several of the authors. Finally, families practiced birth control with several different methods that also changed throughout the married years, thus demonstrating a flexibility that is often overlooked in conventional methods for the analysis of fertility.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2010. Vol. 15, no 2, 117-124 p.
Keyword [en]
Birth control, fertility transition, gender relations, reproductive health, Europe
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-36043DOI: 10.1016/j.hisfam.2010.03.001ISI: 000286776000001OAI: diva2:351603
Available from: 2010-09-15 Created: 2010-09-15 Last updated: 2016-06-08Bibliographically approved

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Edvinsson, SörenKling, Sofia
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