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‘Ultramodern Contraception’ Re-Examined: Cultural dissent or son preference?
Authors: Zakir Husain, Saswata Ghosh, and Mousumi Dutta
Source: Asian Population Studies, 9(3):280-300, DOI: 10.1080/17441730.2013.816480
Topic(s): Contraception
Fertility preferences
Son preference
Country: Asia
  India
Published: JUL 2013
Abstract: The family planning literature considers behavioural family planning methods ‘ineffective’ because their users are not motivated to control their fertility. While this is true for the initial stages of fertility transition, studies report that urban, educated, and affluent women—propelled by a reaction against the medicalisation of the female body by Western technology—mainly use behavioural family planning methods. This elite group has the skill and knowledge to use such methods effectively. The term ‘ultramodern contraception’ has been coined to describe this phenomenon. This paper critically re-examines the ‘ultramodern contraception’ theory, and argues that it has certain limitations. Analysing three rounds of National Family Health Survey data for India, we argue that reliance on such methods may be a transient phase in the reproductive cycle of women, specifically before the desired gender parity of children is attained. Moreover, it may also be a manifestation of son preference. KEYWORDS • contraceptive methods, • gender parity, • son preference, • traditional contraception, • multinomial logit, • India