Eugenics, politics and the state: social democracy
and the Swiss 'gardening state'

Mottier V.
Jesus College,
Cambridge CB5 8BL, UK.
Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci. 2008 Jun;39(2):263-9.


This article explores the connections between eugenics, politics and the state, taking the Swiss case as a particular focus. It is argued that Switzerland provides a historical example of what Bauman [Bauman, Z. (1989). Modernity and the Holocaust. Cambridge: Polity Press.] describes as 'gardening states': states that are concerned with eliminating the 'bad weeds' from the national garden and thereby constructing sharply exclusionary national identities. The Swiss experiments with eugenics (1920s-1960s) can be seen as an example of an ongoing struggle against 'difference'. Against this backdrop I will examine, first, the ways in which state regulation of reproductive sexuality, and other eugenic measures, became central mechanisms for dealing with cultural and other 'differences' in the Swiss nation. Second, I will analyse the gendered nature of such mechanisms, as well as the preoccupation with racial 'difference' exemplified by eugenic policies towards 'Gypsies'. To conclude, I will examine the impact of political institutions and political ideology, in particular, social democracy, on these eugenic gardening efforts.
Liberal Eugenics
Japanese eugenics
Hungarian eugenics
Human self-domestication
Selecting potential children
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
'A life without pain? Hedonists take note'
Francis Galton and contemporary eugenics
Transhumanism (H+): toward a Brave New World?

and further reading

BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World