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Engendering The State

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

Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 480
  • Book Info
    Engendering The State
    Book Description:

    The development of the modern social security state in Canada saw an ideological shift away from the mother and welfare entitlements based on family reproduction, and toward state policies that promoted men?s paid labour in the workplace.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7447-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-2)
  4. Introduction: The Cultural Context of the Canadian Welfare State
    (pp. 3-16)

    I began writing this book with the aim of exploring the origins of the Canadian welfare state between 1900 and the end of the Second World War. I intended to focus on events between the implementation of various pieces of provincial mother′s allowance legislation during the era of the First World War and the passage in 1944 of the federal Family Allowance Act. The central questions that soon presented themselves to me were these: Why did the maternalist ideology which manifested itself in the national movement for mothers′ allowances and which was the first acknowledgment by government of the importance...

  5. 1 The Evangelical Morphology of the State and the Redefinition of the Patriarchal Family
    (pp. 17-45)

    This early twentieth-century injunction by the Protestant clergyman Rev. J. Nicol was a direct refutation of the traditionally patriarchal vision of family relations. Writing in 1911 in theCanadian Home Monthly, Nicol asserted dramatically that ′useful′ citizens were only truly made within families dominated by the mother. Just as the King had become a mere figurehead in relation to Parliament, the father′s authority within the family depended almost entirely on democratic discussion in which the true locus of power was the mother. Nicol′s theme, ′The Influence of the Home on the Nation,′ was hardly new — the metaphor of family...

  6. 2 ′While the Breadwinners Are at War′: Gender and Social Policy, 1914–1918
    (pp. 46-93)

    The First World War was one of the pivotal events of modern history. It destroyed the aristocratic monarchies of Europe, dramatically shifted alignments within the world economy, unleashed new, more radical political ideologies, and for five years severely dislocated traditional social patterns in the participating nations. Although far from the front lines in geographic terms, Canadian society was profoundly shaken by the war, and nowhere was this more true than within families. As one commentator observed, the ′household′ was the focal point of all the social dislocation arising from the war.² Especially disruptive of the social order was the enlistment...

  7. 3 ′A Peaceful Evolution of Industrial Citizenship′: Maternalism, National Efficiency, and the Movement for Mothers′ Allowances
    (pp. 94-130)

    The policies of the Canadian Patriotic Fund, by focusing attention on the redistribution of income to families with children during the First World War, offered an oblique but nonetheless substantive criticism of the traditional Canadian wage structure. This chapter has two themes: why the ideology of children′s or family allowances neither emerged after the war as a focal point of public debate nor was embedded in the logic of state welfare policies (as happened in Britain); and why the recognition during the war of the profound inadequacies of family living standards was instead transfigured into a widespread movement for mothers′...

  8. 4 Mothers′ Allowances and the Regulation of the Family Economy
    (pp. 131-159)

    Feminists, clergymen, and social reformers had promoted mothers′ allowances as a special, non-stigmatizing form of public assistance, one that exempted women from the old, poor law strictures; even so, government administrators began in the early 1920s to undermine the child protection tenets of this legislation, the purpose of which had been to preserve family life by keeping the significant mother-figure in the home. Thus, an alternative approach to solving the problem of the ′pauperizing tendency′¹ began to emerge, when administrators of the various provincial acts began to enforce regulations designed to encourage ′the spirit of self-help.′² Mothers were now being...

  9. 5 Dismantling the Maternalist State: Labour, Social Work, and Social Catholicism Debate Family Policy, 1926–1930
    (pp. 160-195)

    In almost every province where a system of mothers′ allowances had been introduced, government benefits had been restricted to a limited category of deserving mothers – namely, widows with more than two children and women with incapacitated husbands. Despite the strictures placed on this path-breaking form of social legislation by financially austere governments, the broader social movement, which demanded more liberal welfare programs, did not disappear from the Canadian cultural landscape. Between 1926 and 1928 there arose two related (albeit dissimilar) campaigns that aimed at further extending the maternalist welfare state, which had recognized the services that family reproduction and...

  10. 6 ′Not Only a Living Wage, but a Family Wage′: The Great Depression and the Subversion of the Maternalist State
    (pp. 196-248)

    The above epigraphs represent the two poles between which public debate over family and welfare policies developed during the decade of the Great Depression. The one, represented by Paul Douglas, the foremost exponent of family allowances in the United States, saw such supplements to the male wage as a means for preserving the older vision of a strong and interdependent family unit. According to this vision, work and consumption were shared between the sexes. This attitude preserved gender differences but also strengthened the role of women in the household. Douglas fought against the trend – increasingly prevalent by the 1930s...

  11. 7 Reconstructing Families: Family Allowances and the Politics of Postwar Abundance
    (pp. 249-309)

    The Great Depression has been perceived largely as a regressive period characterized by punitive and repressive relief measures built around a social philosophy which argued from a Christian perspective that the fear of starvation was necessary because it was what goaded individuals to seek economic salvation through work, thrift, and ambition. From this vantage point, the emergence of the comprehensive social security program embodied in Leonard Marsh′sReport on Social Security for Canadahas been viewed as the decisive watershed in Canadian welfare history – as the fulcrum of what we have come to define as the modern social security...

  12. Conclusion: ′The Endangered Family′
    (pp. 310-320)

    This book has preceded on the premise that there is a dynamic relationship between public thought and government policies, and that the development of the Canadian welfare state cannot be explained solely in terms of the activities of government legislators but rather, must be studied from the vantage point of the public arena of ideological discussion and conflict and seen as the reflection of broadly based ideological concerns. InEngendering the StateI have argued that welfare entitlements were directly determined by changing ideas of what constituted the national interest. As the definition of national prosperity was gradually severed from...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 321-434)
  14. Primary Sources
    (pp. 435-440)
  15. Index
    (pp. 441-459)