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Human geographers have increasingly sought a deep understanding of the human experience of fertility alongside attending to the implications of population growth and falling fertility rates in the contemporary world. Geographical research is engaged with both the measurement and experience of human fertility, including the methods which allow researchers to recognize and give credence to experiences in different cultural, political, and locational settings. Geographers have engaged warily with debates around overpopulation and offered a critical analysis of the power dynamics bound up in apparently neutral categories of decline and growth. With the cultural turn and the rise of feminist poststructuralism in the 1990s, feminist geographers have been able to reveal the incongruities between epistemologies of population and measurements of fertility rates and the real-world issues of fertility, reproduction, and childbearing. More recently, an interest in the embodied experiences of fertility, including contraception, pregnancy, and childbirth have offered insight into the intimate geopolitics of fertility. With this recent critical scholarship, a reductionist view of fertility has been found wanting, leading to calls for more holistic consideration of reproduction, gender, and biopolitics in order to gain a better understanding of human fertility.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Second Edition
EditorsAudrey Kobayashi
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780081022955
ISBN (Print)9780081022962
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


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