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Gender, the State, and Social Reproduction

Gender, the State, and Social Reproduction: Household Insecurity in Neo-Liberal Times

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 420
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  • Book Info
    Gender, the State, and Social Reproduction
    Book Description:

    A controversial and illuminating study,Gender, the State, and Social Reproductioncrosses the disciplines of politics, history, gender studies, and sociology.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7520-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables and Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. 1 The Neo-liberal Experiment in Ontario, 1995–2000
    (pp. 3-21)

    In May 1995, a majority Progressive Conservative government led by Premier Mike Harris was elected in Ontario. With the Conservatives’ re-election in 1999, they formed the provincial government until 2003.² This government imposed major changes based on neo-liberal policies. In both of their election campaigns, the Conservatives had promised to decrease taxes, reduce the debt and deficit, streamline social services, cut ‘overspending,’ and reduce the role of government (Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario 1994). In particular, they promised to cut social spending, especially public income transfers, and to restrict the public sector in general, in order to cut costs and...

  6. 2 Struggles over Social Reproduction in a Neo-liberal Era
    (pp. 22-40)

    The concept of social reproduction captures the varied processes involved in maintaining and reproducing people, specifically the labouring population, and their labour power on a daily and generational basis (Laslett and Brenner 1989; Clarke 2000). It involves the formation and transfer of skills, knowledge, social and moral values, identities, and cultures (Picchio 1992; Elson 1998; Bakker and Gill 2004; Cameron 2006). The questions and dilemmas that the concept addresses have a long history, reflecting broad concerns about how children are raised and cared for, how families and households are organized, how people secure a living, how workers are produced for...

  7. 3 Legislative and Regulatory Changes in Ontario, 1995–2000
    (pp. 41-64)

    Between 1995 and 2000, the Ontario government emphasized a preference for limited government intervention and regulation in the economy and implemented a neo-liberal economic strategy that transformed the relations between the state and citizens. The resulting changes offer an important example of the enactment of neo-liberal policies in an advanced welfare state. This chapter sketches how the provincial government actively altered the state-market-family/household nexus in Ontario by centralizing power but decentralizing administration, reducing democratic process and consultation, shrinking social spending, curbing labour rights, and casting suspicion on ‘special interests,’ notably the poor. A review of labour market, social, regulatory, legislative,...

  8. 4 Putting Together a Living in Ontario in the late 1990s
    (pp. 65-90)

    The shift towards neo-liberalism and welfare state residualism in Ontario exacerbated a situation in which paid work was already often insecure and unprotected, and in which many workers and citizens were compelled to lower their wage and social welfare expectations. An analysis of the incomes of the members of the households in the three-year panel study shows how vulnerable people are if they cannot secure a well-paid job and if state income and other supports are made less generous and harder to access. Households, especially those with low incomes, were hard-pressed to pick up new burdens imposed on them as...

  9. 5 Interactive Effects of Social Policy Change on Households
    (pp. 91-124)

    As participants tried to manage their incomes in an increasingly insecure labour market and social transfer environment, they had to contend with the erosion of the complementary supports of the welfare state. This chapter explores the new demands placed on household participants by investigating the interactions between insecure incomes, new or rising costs, and decreased access to social services. It shows that the need for social services, when cut, eliminated, or simply not provided, does not disappear but its provision is often shifted onto the work of women in households, who may or may not have the time and energy...

  10. 6 Coping Strategies of Low-Income Households
    (pp. 125-160)

    Despite a booming economy in the mid to late 1990s, the Ontario case study reveals that many household incomes and supports from market and state sources decreased with provincial government restructuring. This compromised the sustainability of household-based coping strategies along with household cohesion. It also undermined the capacity of women with children to form and maintain autonomous households, without having to enter into marriage or other relationships in order to survive.¹ The presumption in neo-liberal, state-level social policy is that the family/household will internalize and harmonize for its members the conflicts of income insecurity and insufficient welfare state supports. However,...

  11. 7 Rethinking Welfare State Retrenchment
    (pp. 161-166)

    The implementation of the Ontario neo-liberal experiment in the 1990s required that the relationship of the state to families/households and to the market be redesigned. In practice, this translated into the state retrenching its role in redistribution and social service. It became more punitive, less universal, accessible, and transparent for citizens, but vastly more accessible for private business. The labour market that was fostered by neo-liberalism intensified established patterns of insecurity and precariousness. To enact a neo-liberal welfare state, the Conservatives elevated the individual market citizen, romanticized women’s familial roles, and ignored the mounting need for investments in social reproduction,...

  12. APPENDIX A Low Income Cut-Offs (LICOs) 1998 (1992 Base)
    (pp. 167-167)
  13. APPENDIX B Selection and Recruitment of Participants
    (pp. 168-168)
  14. APPENDIX C Detailed Household Structure
    (pp. 169-173)
  15. APPENDIX D Benchmark Questions
    (pp. 174-175)
  16. APPENDIX E The Speaking Out Research Process
    (pp. 176-176)
  17. APPENDIX F List of Speaking Out Publications
    (pp. 177-177)
  18. APPENDIX G Profiles of Participant Households Who Received Social Assistance in the 1990s
    (pp. 178-182)
  19. Notes
    (pp. 183-206)
  20. References
    (pp. 207-226)
  21. Index
    (pp. 227-241)