From Malthus to far-right terrorists: an explorative study on the uses and abuses of the ‘overpopulation’ discourse

By: Matteo Modena


Volume: 06
Issue: 02:2020
ISSN: 2459-2943
DOI: 10.18680/hss.2020.0027
Pages: 167-188
Lic.: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0



In the 19th century, Thomas Malthus introduced the concept of human overpopulation into the scientific demographic debate, establishing the myth of population growth causing famine and starvation. The concept has recently resurfaced in international discussions on climate change and world leaders’ speeches. Still, it will likely come into the spotlight in the coming years of the climate crisis, mass displacement, and migration. Our research examines literary and visual texts from the early to the most recent debates, declarations, and uses. Our focus is primarily on the current academic and eco-fascist uses of the concept.


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