© 2009

Contextualizing Family Planning

Truth, Subject, and the Other in the U.S. Government

  • Authors

About this book


This book is a critical analysis of the technologies of identity-formation in governmental family planning policy. Panu argues that in order for contemporary liberalism to govern legitimately, governmental discourses have to create and subsequently alienate certain identities as "other" that is, as the polar opposite of the good, normal citizen. These identities usually center on the poor, the racialised, and the gendered. These arguably discriminatory practices are illustrated through the investigation of the U.S. bio- and anatomo-politics of reproduction in the national family planning strategy, in an analytical framework that relates them to the welfare benefit policies in the same country. Panu argues that as long as neo-liberal governmental apparatuses map and rule society using this combination of "othering" and foundational assumptions, each governmental intervention reinforces the systems that make domination, inequality, and exclusion possible.


culture Eugenics family government identity planning poverty production race reproduction

About the authors

MIHNEA PANU is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada.

Bibliographic information


"This project aims to raise a series of issues and concerns regarding contemporary heath politics in the national U.S. context. Focusing on welfare and family planning policies Panu critically addresses the discursive effects of such policies, particularly in relation to contemporary formations of race, gender and class . . .This is a timely project which could find a wide audience in the social sciences, particularly in the disciplines of political science, sociology, social policy, public health, as well as the interdisciplinary fields of cultural studies and women and gender studies. The book provides an important historical account of contemporary health policy in the U.S. and should therefore remain a significant text." - Nicole Vitellone, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Liverpool