Hervé Le Bras

The Invention of Populations Biology, Ideology and Politics Publication date : March 1, 2000

This collection by several authors, edited by Hervé Le Bras, highlights the ideological assumptions of demography, a science caught between politics and biology. The authors show how demography took on its present form in the 1920s, modelled on the study of self-enclosed population groups which reproduce themselves. Its goals and dogmas were thus the family, fertility, and the endogenous growth of the population, and the results have been the development of racism, anti-Semitism, eugenics, and all forms of exclusion — including that of groups at risk.
Contributors include: Florence Vienne, of the Max-Planck Institute, in Rostock; Mary Lewis, of Columbia University, New York; Giovanni Favero, of the University of Venice; and Florence Maillochon of the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique.

Hervé Le Bras, a graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique, is a demographer and a course director at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.