Secularism and the Size of Families
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First published in 1981, Victorian Values is an investigation into the social causes behind the decline of the birth rate and the size of families in Britain in the second half of the nineteenth century. The author looks at the interplay of the rising standard of living, the emancipation of women, the attitude to children and education and the effects of the meritocratic ideal, and their interaction with religious ideas of sexual morality. He considers the pioneers of birth control, but other factors are considered which might contribute to the retreat from the very large families of an earlier period. The book is a brilliant example of how the sociologist can illuminate the problems of the social and economic historian, and at the same time contribute to developing ideas about future social policy.
Table of Contents
1. Fertility and the decline in religious belief 2. The religious roots of the Malthusian controversy 3. The secularist case for birth control 4. The emancipation of women 5. Hostages to fortune 6. The meritocratic emphasis 7. The apostasy of the paterfamilias 8. The 1870s and after 9. The revaluation of children 10. Towards a fertility policy Notes Index to sources General index
J. A. Banks