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In The Name of LiberalismIlliberal Social Policy in the USA and Britain$
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Desmond King

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198296294

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198296290.001.0001

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‘Cutting Off the Worst’ Voluntary Sterilization in Britain in the 1930s

‘Cutting Off the Worst’ Voluntary Sterilization in Britain in the 1930s

Chapter:
(p.64) 3 ‘Cutting Off the Worst’ Voluntary Sterilization in Britain in the 1930s
Source:
In The Name of Liberalism
Author(s):

Desmond King (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198296290.003.0005

King briefly reviews the historical and intellectual context in which the concept of eugenics developed and eventually led to the formation of the 1932 ‘Brock Committee’, which was charged with making recommendations on the sterilization of the ‘feeble‐minded’ in England and Wales. Second, he analyses the motivations behind the Brock committee's appointment, the content of its deliberations, and its subsequent efforts to create sufficient momentum in favour of eugenics legislation. Third, King examines why the initiative to establish voluntary sterilization failed in Britain when it succeeded in the US. In his exploration, King determines that experts and advocates can act autonomously from societal pressure, but any decision about policy implementation is firmly a political one.

Keywords:   Britain, Brock Committee, eugenics, experts, legislation, policy implementation, sterilization, USA

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