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Between Continuity and Change: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development’s Program of Action

Mbisamakoro, Khelia LU (2014) SIMV18 20141
Graduate School
Master of Science in Social Studies of Gender
Department of Political Science
Abstract
The history of the population control movement is one replete with controversies and where
narratives about coercive population control policies and programs abound. Questionable
practices such as the wide sterilization campaigns as took place in India during its state of
emergency period in the 1970s or the use of contraceptives in the developing world already
banned from Western markets contributed in casting a shadow over the population control
movement for years. It is in this context that we need to understand the Cairo International
conference on Population and Development of 1994, which, many claimed was an important
paradigm shift that served to re-define the population issue and change the course of the
population debate.... (More)
The history of the population control movement is one replete with controversies and where
narratives about coercive population control policies and programs abound. Questionable
practices such as the wide sterilization campaigns as took place in India during its state of
emergency period in the 1970s or the use of contraceptives in the developing world already
banned from Western markets contributed in casting a shadow over the population control
movement for years. It is in this context that we need to understand the Cairo International
conference on Population and Development of 1994, which, many claimed was an important
paradigm shift that served to re-define the population issue and change the course of the
population debate. The Program of Action firmly established the primacy of human welfare
needs over a “simple” concern with demographic targets and goals. For activists and
commentators alike, a consensus was reached at Cairo and the conference represented a
complete break from the international population movement’s controversial past. However,
this has led to the misconceived assumption that the debate on population control is now
“dead and buried” (Brigham, 2012). Hence, some authors argue that the public and global
interest in the issue of overpopulation has for some time been on decline. The argument of
this paper is however that the consensus reached at Cairo happened less through a change in
perspective than by finding a language that was so vague as to allow a coalition by a variety
of actors with divergent interests, between women’s rights advocates, population control
advocates, religious groups, market-oriented economists, environmentalists, etc. Through a
critical discourse analysis (CDA) of the Program of Action, the paper suggests that it is
important to see the Program of Action not as a complete break from the population control
movement but as a continuation of the same discourse albeit in a changed political context,
and, family planning has now become the vehicle through which the old population control
discourse is legitimized and lives on. (Less)
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author
Mbisamakoro, Khelia LU
supervisor
organization
course
SIMV18 20141
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
discourse, population control, malthusian discourse, family planning, CDA
language
English
id
4462887
date added to LUP
2014-07-01 10:09:08
date last changed
2014-07-01 10:09:08
@misc{4462887,
  abstract     = {The history of the population control movement is one replete with controversies and where
narratives about coercive population control policies and programs abound. Questionable
practices such as the wide sterilization campaigns as took place in India during its state of
emergency period in the 1970s or the use of contraceptives in the developing world already
banned from Western markets contributed in casting a shadow over the population control
movement for years. It is in this context that we need to understand the Cairo International
conference on Population and Development of 1994, which, many claimed was an important
paradigm shift that served to re-define the population issue and change the course of the
population debate. The Program of Action firmly established the primacy of human welfare
needs over a “simple” concern with demographic targets and goals. For activists and
commentators alike, a consensus was reached at Cairo and the conference represented a
complete break from the international population movement’s controversial past. However,
this has led to the misconceived assumption that the debate on population control is now
“dead and buried” (Brigham, 2012). Hence, some authors argue that the public and global
interest in the issue of overpopulation has for some time been on decline. The argument of
this paper is however that the consensus reached at Cairo happened less through a change in
perspective than by finding a language that was so vague as to allow a coalition by a variety
of actors with divergent interests, between women’s rights advocates, population control
advocates, religious groups, market-oriented economists, environmentalists, etc. Through a
critical discourse analysis (CDA) of the Program of Action, the paper suggests that it is
important to see the Program of Action not as a complete break from the population control
movement but as a continuation of the same discourse albeit in a changed political context,
and, family planning has now become the vehicle through which the old population control
discourse is legitimized and lives on.},
  author       = {Mbisamakoro, Khelia},
  keyword      = {discourse,population control,malthusian discourse,family planning,CDA},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Between Continuity and Change: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development’s Program of Action},
  year         = {2014},
}