Engendering the State: Family, Work, and Welfare in Canada by Nancy ChristieEngendering the State: Family, Work, and Welfare in Canada by Nancy Christie

Engendering the State: Family, Work, and Welfare in Canada

byNancy Christie

Paperback | June 1, 2000

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In the early part of this century the mother was the educator and moral centre of the Canadian household. Between the onset of the First World War and the development of the modern social security state in the 1940s, however, an ideological shift took place. While Canada endured the effects of two world wars, industrialization, and economic and political crises, welfare entitlements based on family reproduction were replaced by state policies that promoted paid labour in the workplace. To a nation gripped with new and great anxieties, the mother no longer appeared capable of functioning as its vitally adhesive force.

The necessity of stabilizing the paternal position of the father as breadwinner in order to sustain the family and support economic progress became the progressively dominant view. Although this thinking effectively helped a portion of the population achieve economic autonomy, its damaging effects were wide reaching. Women, unskilled labourers, and the chronically indigent had been left resourceless.

The author's explanation of gender's role in the conception of modern Canadian welfare policy takes current scholarship into novel territory. Her analyses of the perspectives of maternal feminists, clergymen, organized labour, businessmen, university social scientists, welfare administrators, social workers, and government policy makers are fascinating to read and contribute greatly to our understanding of the current debates in welfare policy making.

Nancy Christie is the J.B. Smallman Chair in the Department of History at the University of Western Ontario.
Title:Engendering the State: Family, Work, and Welfare in CanadaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:480 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.25 inPublished:June 1, 2000Publisher:University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing DivisionLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0802083218

ISBN - 13:9780802083210

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From Our Editors

This scholarly paper by Nancy Innes discusses the displacement of the mother as the primary educator and moral centre of the Canadian household. In Engendering The State Family, Work and Welfare in Canada, Innes claims that the impact of world wars, industrialization, welfare entitlements and policies that encouraged woman to work also diminished her capacity to function as a vital adhesive force in the family unit. The result is the predominately paternal view that the father is "the breadwinner" of the house. 

Editorial Reviews

'This well-researched study is rich in detailed description, filled with interesting case studies that illustrate the impact of patriarchal ideology and gender inequality. Christie makes a major contribution to the fields of gender and family studies, public policy, labour history, and political sociology.'

- Choice