Thursday, November 21, 2019

Post Confederation Canadian History Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 2250 words

Post Confederation Canadian History - Essay Example As a ruling myth, nationalism was used to eclipse other social divisions, especially class, by positing an overarching national identity that promoted relations of domination and discouraged an effective, united challenge to the system through scapegoating 'others.' In the nationalist discourse of the social reform movement, concepts of race and nation were fused and simultaneously based on the principles of exclusion and inclusion. Consequently, as Robert Miles argues for the similar British case, 'racism' formed 'the lining of the cloak of nationalism.' Gender ideals -- women's 'respectable' role as domestic manager, reproducer, and nurturer -- also interacted with concepts of nation, race, and class in the reform project as women's proper role in the domestic sphere was considered essential to 'Canadianizing' the working class. State intervention in the housing sphere in the interwar period was limited when compared with initiatives in the post-Second World War era; fewer than 7000 houses were built under government auspices in the period. But the discourse of housing betterment, along with its counterparts in other areas of social policy and the practical measures implemented at the local level, assisted in strengthening the popular fiction of 'Canadian' supremacy and spreading the bigoted message that 'outsiders' (however loosely defined) were to blame for the country's problems. This attitude dovetailed neatly with the divide-and-rule strategy pursued by government officials increasingly concerned with the intense class struggles of the period. Social planning experiments were circumscribed but nevertheless emblematic of significant developments in the history of the Canadian state and reform ideas. Central to this process was the contribution of housing reformers to the question of what constituted the Canadian nation and, more crucially, a 'proper' Canadian. Reform-minded state officials sought popular legitimacy by reinforcing pre-existing notions of the dangerous 'other' -- non-British, non-white 'races' and 'nations' and, increasingly, urban native-born and British immigrant workers -- in stark opposition to the ideal of the cherished and respectable 'white British Canadian.' Simultaneously, the reform tendencies of the period sustained and deepened the conviction that women's role was solely in the home as nurturer and Canadianizer of the 'race.' Through reform propaganda and practical implementation of various housing reform measures, it proved useful for reformers to attribute social and economic afflictions to the so-called inferiority and 'un-Canadianness' of various social groups --immigrants, women, and workers -- rather than to structural flaws in the capitalist sys tem itself. 'Reform' in the First World War period can be defined as an approach advocating state intervention in the economy and society to alleviate the social problems of capitalism and thereby preserve the system itself. The role housing reform could play, as part of the larger project of securing social consent by stabilizing family structures and contributing to the construction of a distinct national identity, constituted a pivotal concern in the discourse of the reform effort. Yet without losing sight of this distinct regulatory thrust from above, it is also necessary to chart

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