Respectable Citizens: Gender, Family, and Unemployment in Ontario's Great Depression

Lara Campbell

© 2009

High unemployment rates, humiliating relief policy, and the spectre of eviction characterized the experiences of many Ontario families in the Great Depression. Respectable Citizens is an examination of the material difficulties and survival strategies of families facing poverty and unemployment, and an analysis of how collective action and protest redefined the meanings of welfare and citizenship in the 1930s.

Lara Campbell draws on diverse sources including newspapers, family and juvenile court records, premiers' papers, memoirs, and oral histories to uncover the ways in which the material workings of the family and the discursive category of 'respectable' citizenship were invested with gendered obligations and Anglo-British identity. Respectable Citizens demonstrates how women and men represented themselves as entitled to make specific claims on the state, shedding new light on the cooperative and conflicting relationships between men and women, parents and children, and citizen and state in 1930s Canada.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

Respectable Citizens is an examination of the material difficulties and survival strategies of families facing poverty and unemployment, and an analysis of how collective action and protest redefined the meanings of welfare and citizenship in the 1930s.

Respectable Citizens: Gender, Family, and Unemployment in Ontario's Great Depression

Lara Campbell

© 2009

High unemployment rates, humiliating relief policy, and the spectre of eviction characterized the experiences of many Ontario families in the Great Depression. Respectable Citizens is an examination of the material difficulties and survival strategies of families facing poverty and unemployment, and an analysis of how collective action and protest redefined the meanings of welfare and citizenship in the 1930s.

Lara Campbell draws on diverse sources including newspapers, family and juvenile court records, premiers' papers, memoirs, and oral histories to uncover the ways in which the material workings of the family and the discursive category of 'respectable' citizenship were invested with gendered obligations and Anglo-British identity. Respectable Citizens demonstrates how women and men represented themselves as entitled to make specific claims on the state, shedding new light on the cooperative and conflicting relationships between men and women, parents and children, and citizen and state in 1930s Canada.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    Respectable Citizens offers a vivid analysis of a unique period in Canadian history that has been rarely studied through a gendered lens… a thought-provoking read, offering rich glimpses of the past as well as striking parallels to the present day.’
    Karen Hughes
    Canadian Journal of Sociology; vol35:04:2010

    Respectable Citizens is an invaluable resource to those who study the Great Depression in Canada precisely because its many observations lead to many opportunities for further exploration.’


    Neal Adolph
    Histoire sociale / Social History, vol 47:95:2014
  • Author Information

    Lara Campbell is an associate professor in the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at Simon Fraser University.

  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgments

    Introduction

    Chapter One: 'Giving all the good in me to save my children': Domestic Labour, Motherhood, and 'Making Do' in Ontario Families

    Chapter Two: 'If he is a man he becomes desperate': Unemployed Husbands, Fathers, and Workers

    Chapter Three: The Obligations of Family: Parents, Children's Labour, and Youth Culture

    Chapter Four: 'A Family's Self-Respect and Morale': Negotiating Respectability and Conflict in Home and Family

    Chapter Five: Militant Mothers and Loving Fathers: Gender, Family, and Ethnicity in Protest

    Conclusion: Survival, Citizenship, and State

    Endnotes

    Bibliography

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