The language of Children’s Rights, The formation of the Welfare State and the Democratic Experience of Poor Families in Quebec, 1940-55

The language of Children’s Rights, The formation of the Welfare State and the Democratic Experience of Poor Families in Quebec, 1940-55

The language of Children’s Rights, The formation of the Welfare State and the Democratic Experience of Poor Families in Quebec, 1940-55

The language of Children’s Rights, The formation of the Welfare State and the Democratic Experience of Poor Families in Quebec, 1940-55s

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Référence bibliographique [7278]

Marshall, Dominique. 1997. «The language of Children’s Rights, The formation of the Welfare State and the Democratic Experience of Poor Families in Quebec, 1940-55 ». Canadian Historical Review, vol. 78, no 3, p. 409-441.

Fiche synthèse

1. Objectifs


Intentions :
« This article proposes an examination of the rhtetoric of children’s rights ’from within’ during the two decades following the passing of the laws. It will try to understand the popularity of this idea among the poor by pointing to relatively autonomous elements of their political culture. » (p. 413)

Questions/Hypothèses :
« The analysis of the effective uses of the notion of children’s rights in the society sheds some light on the terms in which the new regime of universality was desired, accepted, criticized, and eventually - transformed by poor families. It asks who among them, spoke the language of children’s rights? Whom did they address and in what capacity? For what purpose? Which frame of reference did they rely upon? » (p. 413)

2. Méthode


Type de traitement des données :
Réflexion critique

3. Résumé


« In 1943, when Liberal premier Adelard Godbout enacted free and compulsory schooling for children up to the age of fourteen he invoked the right for a child to a minimum of education. Two years later, Canadian Prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King launched universal family allowances for children up to the age of sixteen, using the similar notion of a right for each child to a minimum of welfare. The allowances were introduced to social workers and community elites as a ’Children Charter’. The practice of ’putting child first’ was not new in movement of social reform, but the juncture of this emphasis with public endorsement of the language of universal human economic and cultural rights marks a peculiar moment in the history of modern ideas about childhood. Where previous laws had been concerned with children’s lives and their protection from physical abuse and neglect, the new social policies pertained to their instruction and their well-being, ’articulate and explicit requirements of the exercise of parental power,’ well above the subsistence level. Since such laws may well constitute the most important change in the standardization and accentuation of state intervention in children’s lives, this study also sheds some light on the larger process of the formation in the welfare state. Finally, an examination of the peculiar uses of the rethoric of fairness may contribute to the history of political culture in Quebec. » (p. 410)