From 'race hygiene' to 'national-productivist hygiene'

Alberto Spektorowski*, Liza Ireni-Saban

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article aims to locate a shift from 'racial' eugenics to 'national-welfare' eugenics during the 1930s when eugenic policies could no longer be understood independently of socio-economic factors. Eugenic strategies were favoured by social democratic and labour movements as a tool for productionist welfare. In other words, to have welfare, a society should reduce its social non-productive margins while enhancing the productivist aspects. As we shall demonstrate through case studies of Israel and Sweden, social democratic and labour movements were the key agents of these policies. They defended their countries' ethno-national identity guised under a productivist stance. Such a 'collectivist' type of eugenics-a social productivist one, which is a category located between racism and liberalism, is basically tailored for 'people's home' countries, two of which are analysed in this article. In short, we use as a case study a comparison between Israel and Sweden to show how such eugenic strategies arose over time in 'people's home' countries, which synthesized productivism and national welfare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-193
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Political Ideologies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011


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