The decade of the 1920s is seen by historians as a crucial period in the formation of the Canadian working class. In Ideal Surroundings, Suzanne Morton looks at a single working-class community as it responded to national and regional changes. Grounded in labour and feminist history, with a strong focus on domestic life, this analysis zeros in on the relationship between gender ideals and the way different family members experienced class. The setting is Richmond Heights, a working-class suburb of Halifax that was constructed following the 1917 explosion that devastated a large section of the city. The Halifax Relief Commission, specially formed to respond to this incident, generated a unique set of historical records that provides an unusually intimate glimpse of domestic life. Drawing on these and other archives, Morton uncovers many critical challenges to working-class ideals. The male world-view in particular was seriously destabilized as economic transformation and unemployment left many men without the means to support their families and as the daughters of Richmond Heights increasingly left their class-defined jobs for service and clerical positions. Drawing on recent theoretical and empirical work, Morton expertly integrates interpretive and narrative material, creating a vivid portrayal of class dynamics in this critical postwar era. Her focus on the home and domesticity marks an innovative move towards the integration of gender in the study of Canadian history.In Ideal Surroundings, Suzanne Morton looks at a single working-class community as it responded to national and regional changes.
|Publisher||:||Univ of Toronto Pr - 1995-03-01|