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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Our Union«

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Our Union

Athabasca University Press | Fabriks: Studies in the Working Class


The post-war period witnessed dramatic changes in the lives of working-class families. Wages rose, working hours were reduced, pension plans and state social security measures offered greater protection against unemployment, illness, and old age, the standard of living improved, and women and members of immigrant communities entered the labour market in growing numbers. Existing studies of the post-war period have focused above all on unions at the national and international levels, on the "post-war settlement," including the impact of Fordism, and on the chiefly economic issues surrounding collective bargaining, while relatively scant attention has been paid to the role of the union local in daily working-class experience.

In Our Union, Jason Russell argues that the union local, as an institution of working-class organization, was a key agent for the Canadian working class as it sought to create a new place for itself in the decades following World War II. Using UAW/CAW Local 27, a broad-based union in London, Ontario, as a case study, he offers a ground-level look at union membership, including some of the social and political agendas that informed union activities. As he writes in the introduction, "This book is as much an outgrowth of years of rank-and-file union activism as it is the result of academic curiosity." Drawing on interviews with former members of UAW/CAW Local 27 as well as on archival sources, Russell offers a narrative that will speak not only to labour historians but to the people about whom they write.

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“This book is a great history of our local! I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about local unions and what they do."

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“The vast majority of workers who have participated in the working-class movements in Canada in some way during the second half of the 20th century have done so through the activities of their locals. The bulk of union activity, whether directly connected to the paid workplace or not, has taken place at the local level. For these reasons, anyone who wishes to understand unions as working-class organizations should put local unions at the centre of their thinking. There are few detailed, thoroughly-researched studies of locals, and for this reason Our Union is valuable.”

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“Drawing on interviews with former union activists as well as archival sources, Russell explores and interrogates the role of UAW/CAW Local 27 in the lives of the men and women who were its members and thus contributes to a better understanding of the way being in a union shaped their lives, and of how they, in turn, influenced the union. He uncovers the broad social agendas as well as the narrow workplace concerns that determined local union members’ organizing and negotiating priorities and over which they struggled among themselves and with the national and international union. In the process, he nuances, and sometimes challenges, the overarching narratives of labour history by using evidence from the local and particular to interrogate what has long been taken for granted.”

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Jason Russell is assistant professor of labour studies at Empire State College, State University of New York.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Liberalism, Surveillance, and Resistance«

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Liberalism, Surveillance, and Resistance

Athabasca University Press | The West Unbound: Social and Cultural Studies


Canada is regularly presented as a country where liberalism has ensured freedom and equality for all. Yet with the expansion of settlers into the First Nations territories that became southern Alberta and BC, liberalism proved to be an exclusionary rather than inclusionary force. Between 1877 and 1927, government officials, police officers, church representatives, ordinary settlers, and many others operated to exclude and reform Indigenous people. Presenting Anglo-Canadian liberal capitalist values and structures and interests as normal, natural, and beyond reproach devalued virtually every aspect of Indigenous cultures. This book explores the means used to facilitate and justify colonization, their effects on Indigenous economic, political, social, and spiritual lives, and how they were resisted.

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"As an introduction to postmodern ideas and analysis, the contribution Liberalism, Surveillance, and Resistance makes to Canadian Aboriginal history is significant. Sophisticated, thoroughly researched, and readable, it provides a very useful framework for analyzing familiar events in the history of Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal relations in Canada and colonialism everywhere."

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“Smith concludes that ‘disciplinary surveillance’ of aboriginal people as employed by the federal government has persisted to the present day, despite the evidence of sporadic resistance by individuals and groups. What makes this book even more timely, is that the Canadian government continues to monitor the activities of aboriginal people who resist incursions on their indigenous rights and territories.”

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Keith D. Smith is Chair of the Department of First Nations Studies and teaches in the Department of History at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Union Power«

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Union Power

Athabasca University Press and Canadian Committee on Labour History | Working Canadians: Books from the CCLH


From factory workers in Welland to retail workers in St. Catharines, from hospitality workers in Niagara Falls to migrant farm workers in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Union Power showcases the role of working people in the Niagara region. Charting the development of the region’s labour movement from the early nineteenth century to the present, Patrias and Savage illustrate how workers from this highly diversified economy struggled to improve their lives both inside and outside the workplace. Including extensive quotations from interviews, archival sources, and local newspapers, the story unfolds, in part, through the voices of the people themselves: the workers who fought for unions, the community members who supported them, and the employers who opposed them.

Early industrial development and the appalling working conditions of the often vulnerable common labourer prompted a movement toward worker protection. Patrias and Savage argue that union power – power not built on profit, status, or prestige – relies on the twin concepts of struggle and solidarity: the solidarity of the shared interests of the working class and the struggle to achieve common goals. Union Power traces the evidence of these twin concepts through the history of the Niagara region’s labour movement.

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"[Union Power and Working People in Alberta] provide an excellent look into the history of labour in Canada and how it has changed over time. Most notably each is an important addition to the struggle to keep labour history in the public eye."

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"A rich and compelling book that highlights the important role unions played in Canada’s Niagara region in both historical and contemporary periods. . . . The quality and quantity of original archival and oral history research is impressive."

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Carmela Patrias is a professor in the Department of History at Brock University. Her publications include: Patriots and Proletarians: Politicizing Hungarian Immigrants in Canada, Discounted Labour: Women Workers in Canada, 1870–1939, co-authored with Ruth Frager, and Jobs and Justice: Fighting Discrimination in Wartime Canada, 1939–1945.

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Larry Savage is associate professor of labour studies and political science and director of the Jobs and Justice Research Unit at Brock University.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Development Derailed«

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Development Derailed

Athabasca University Press


In June of 1962, the Canadian Pacific Railway announced a proposal to redevelop part of its reserved land in the heart of downtown Calgary. In an effort to bolster its waning revenues and to redefine its urban presence, the CPR proposed a multimillion dollar development project that included retail, office, and convention facilities, along with a major transportation centre. With visions of enhanced tax revenues, increased land values, and new investment opportunities, Calgary’s political and business leaders greeted the proposal with excitement. Over the following year, the scope of the project expanded, growing to a scale never before seen in Canada. The plan took official form through an agreement between the City of Calgary and the railway company to develop a much larger area of land and to reroute or remove the railway tracks from the downtown area—a grand design for reshaping Calgary’s urban core. In 1964, amid bickering and a failed negotiating process, the project came to an abrupt end. What caused this promising partnership between the nation’s leading corporation and the burgeoning city of Calgary to collapse?

What, in economic terms, was perceived to be a win-win situation for both parties fell prey to a conflict between corporate rigidity and an unorganized, ill-informed, and over-enthusiastic civic administration and city council. Drawing on the private records of Rod Sykes, the CPR’s onsite negotiator and later Calgary’s mayor, Foran unravels the fascinating story of how politics ultimately undermined promise.

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"The intricacies of political and business development have long been a staple of narrative. Even in this large literature, however, Max Foran’s book is probably unique: a story of essentially three years of ultimately failed negotiations between one city government and one (albeit large) company. It is a well-written, engaging story. Foran martials a great deal of information about personalities, city governance in Calgary in the early 1960s, and changes in the business of railways in the third quarter of the 20th century."

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Max Foran is a professor in the Faculty of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary. He has written extensively on various western Canadian urban, rural, and cultural topics, most recently on ranching, urban growth, and sustainability.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Recollecting«

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Recollecting

Carter, SarahMcCormack, Patricia A (Hrsg.) | Athabasca University Press | The West Unbound: Social and Cultural Studies


This rich collection of essays illuminates the lives of late-eighteenth-century to mid-twentieth-century Aboriginal women, women who have been overlooked in sweeping narratives of the history of the West.

Some essays focus on individuals—a trader, a performer, a non-human woman. Other essays examine cohorts of women—wives, midwives, seamstresses, nuns. Authors look beyond the documentary record and standard representations of women, drawing on records generated by the women themselves, including their beadwork, other material culture, and oral histories. Exploring the constraints and boundaries these women encountered, the authors engage with difficult and important questions of gender, race, and identity. Collectively these essays demonstrate the complexity of "contact zone" interactions, and they enrich and challenge dominant narratives about histories of the Canadian Northwest.

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“More than emphasizing an active role for Aboriginal women in history, Atkinson, Barman, and their fellow contributors offer highly readable biographies showcasing hybridity, resiliency, contradictory historical experiences, and, above all, the diversity of Aboriginal women’s identities.”

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"An exciting new collection that spans over 200 years of Canadian history…. The central themes are primarily the negotiation of fluid identities within a changing and dynamic context and the importance of looking beyond the archive to recover what, the authors argue, lies beyond the colonizing gaze. […] Recollecting provides a thoroughly readable trove of information and includes some useful illustrations of many of the individuals and of some of the handiwork under discussion. The well-researched articles as a whole, remind us as researchers to seek diligently to capture voices present in objects, in stories, and in recollections not found in any traditional textual archive.”

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“The fact that the best essays rely not on journals or books written by women (which would thus make them elite and somewhat unusual) but on varied sources that discuss them or that they left behind, such as dictated reminiscences, makes these articles more thought-provoking and impressive. Even when the book focuses on more famous representatives, such as Catherine Auger, Frances Nickawa, or Anahareo, the essays present them as multidimensional figures who changed over time and embraced and rejected cultural norms.”

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“This collection’s introduction and twelve articles can quite rightly be seen as one grand recovery mission, a giant step toward increasing dramatically the complexity of western/colonial history through the lives of Aboriginal women.”

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“Sarah Carter and Patricia McCormack unsettle the dominant, white-settler narrative of Canadian history while also contributing in a unique way to the genre of women's historical biography.”

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Sarah Carter is Professor and Henry Marshall Tory Chair in both the Department of History and Classics and the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Her most recent books are The Importance of Being Monogamous: Marriage and Nation Building in Western Canada and Montana Women Homesteaders: A Field of One’s Own.

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Patricia A. McCormack is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on Aboriginal peoples of the northwestern Plains, northern Canada, and Scotland, in the contexts of the fur trade and the expansion of state. She has published extensively about Fort Chipewyan, including a new book to be published shortly by UBC Press.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Through Feminist Eyes«

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Through Feminist Eyes

Athabasca University Press


Through Feminist Eyes gathers in one volume the most incisive and insightful essays written to date by the distinguished Canadian historian Joan Sangster. To the original essays, Sangster has added reflective introductory discussions that situate her earlier work in the context of developing theory and debate. Sangster has also supplied an introduction to the collection in which she reflects on the themes and theoretical orientations that have shaped the writing of women's history over the past thirty years.

Approaching her subject matter from an array of interpretive frameworks that engage questions of gender, class, colonialism, politics, and labour, Sangster explores the lived experience of women in a variety of specific historical settings. In so doing, she sheds new light on issues that have sparked much debate among feminist historians and offers a thoughtful overview of the evolution of women's history in Canada.

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“Sangster does an extraordinary job of situating her work within the literature of women's history and politics and engages with theoretical debates in feminist ideologies since its first emergence in academia. She goes beyond a historical examination of gender and women's history by interweaving her own experiences and challenges as a feminist academic conducting research in the field for over thirty years. This text is a vital contribution to the scholarship of Canadian women's history.”

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Joan Sangster is a professor of women's studies and history at Trent University, where she also teaches at the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Native Studies. Her most recent books are Girl Trouble: Female 'Delinquency' in English Canada and Transforming Labour: Women and Work in Postwar Canada.

 
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The Wages of Relief

Athabasca University Press and Canadian Committee on Labour History | Working Canadians: Books from the CCLH


In the early part of the Dirty Thirties, the Canadian prairie city was a relatively safe haven. Having faced recession before the Great War and then again in the early 1920s, municipalities already had relief apparatuses in place to deal with poverty and unemployment. Until 1933, responsibilty for the care of the urban poor remained with local governments, but when the farms failed that year, and the Depression deepened, western Canadian cities suffered tremendously. Recognizing the severity of the crisis, the national government intervened. Evolving federal programs and policies took over responsibility for the delivery of relief to the single unemployed, while the government simultaneously withdrew financing for all public works projects.

Setting municipal relief administrations of the 1930s within a wider literature on welfare and urban poor relief, Strikwerda highlights the legacy on which relief policymakers relied in determining policy directions, as well as the experiences of the individuals and families who depended on relief for their survival. Focusing on three prairie cities—Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg—Strikwerda argues that municipal officials used their power to set policy to address what they perceived to be the most serious threats to the social order stemming from the economic crisis. By analyzing the differing ways in which local relief programs treated married and single men, he also explores important gendered dynamics at work in the response of city administrators to the social and economic upheaval of the Depression. Probing the mindset of local elites struggling in extraordinary circumstances, The Wages of Relief describes the enduring impact of the policy changes made in the 1930s in the direction of a broad, national approach to unemployment—an approach that ushered in Canada’s modern welfare system.

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“In this accessible, clearly written, and convincingly argued book, Eric Strikwerda offers a carefully researched and nuanced take on the history of the Great Depression. […] Choosing to place prairie cities at the centre of this history of urban unemployment offers a refreshing take on the history of the Depression in the West, which is overwhelmingly remembered as a story of drought-ridden farms rather than industrializing and expanding cities and economies tightly linked to agricultural production. […] Strikwerda’s careful and sensitive differentiation between unmarried and married men adds a layer of complexity to the larger category of masculinity and contributes to the historical and theoretical literature on the regulation, politicization, and control of male bodies in an urban, capitalist, and industrial society.”

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“Strikwerda employs both solid scholarship and an engaging style... The Wages of Relief provides insight into the origins of some of our current social systems and the strains that can be placed on cities during times of economic distress.”

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“Strikwerda unwinds his fascinating tale about the federal government’s slow encroachment on municipal relief machinery. […] It is a well-constructed argument. [The Wages of Relief] would be well-suited to a course on the Depression in Canada given its many threads, thorough research, pleasant writing, and the unresolved debate at its conclusion.”

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Eric Strikwerda teaches Canadian history at the University of Alberta and labour studies/industrial relations at Athabasca University.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Man Proposes, God Disposes«

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Man Proposes, God Disposes

Athabasca University Press | Our Lives: Diary, Memoir, and Letters


In 1910, young Pierre Maturié bid farewell to his comfortable bourgeois existence in rural France and travelled to northern Alberta in search of independence, adventure, and newfound prosperity. Some sixty years later, he wrote of the four years he spent in Canada before he returned to France in 1914 to fight in the First World War. Like that of so many youthful pioneers, his story is one of adventure and hardship—perilous journeys, railroad construction in the Rockies, panning for gold in swift-flowing streams, transporting goods for the Hudson’s Bay Company along the Athabasca River. Blessed with the rare gift of a natural storyteller, Maturié conveys his abiding nostalgia for a country he loved deeply yet ultimately had to abandon.

Maturié’s memoir, Man Proposes, God Disposes, appeared in France in 1972, to a warm reception. Now, in the deft and marvellously empathetic translation of Vivien Bosley, it is at long last available in English. As a portrait of pioneer life in northern Alberta, as a window onto the French experience in Canada, and, above all, as an irresistible story—it will continue to find a place in the hearts of readers for years to come.

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"A delightful translation of Pierre Maturie's recollections of traveling to and settling in rural Alberta before WW1. Written in simple but poignant chapters, the narrative recounts a journey full of warmth, challenges, triumphs and sorrows in which victory over the land comes at a difficult price."

 
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Provincial Solidarities

Athabasca University Press and Canadian Committee on Labour History | Working Canadians: Books from the CCLH


Established in 1913, the New Brunswick Federation of Labour is the second oldest provincial federation of labour in Canada. Its history began in early campaigns for workers’ compensation and union recognition and continues today in the latest battles to defend social standards, secure employment, and union rights. Active initially in the port city of Saint John and the railway centre of Moncton, the federation soon expanded to include workers in the mines and mills of the north, taking up the causes of public employees and women workers and confronting the realities of life and work in a bilingual society.

A pioneering study, written in clear and forceful prose, this is the untold story of provincial labour solidarities that succeeded in overcoming divisions and defeats to raise the status of working men and women within New Brunswick society. Drawing on archives, newspapers, and workers’ own descriptions of their experiences, Frank makes an original contribution to our understanding of the political, economic, and social development of the province. In so doing, he helps meet the need for an informed public awareness of the history of workers and unions in all parts of Canada.

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“Both instructive and engaging, Provincial Solidarities is a welcome addition to the field, where all too often the experiences of Atlantic Canadian workers take a backseat to those in the industrial heartland, or to the so-called 'radicals' of Western Canada.”

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“One of this book's strengths, quite apart from its thoroughness and research, is the way it has succeeded in contextualizing this umbrella organization into the fabric of social history, so we can see both the changing issues with each passing era, and the themes that continually recur.”

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“Frank convincingly demonstrates that the Federation’s influence rested on the necessary, ongoing task of building and rebuilding solidarity among workers and working-class organizations. . . . Provincial Solidarities demonstrates that the labour movement’s achievements have come from sustained collective action. As labour’s accomplishments continue to come under heavy attack, Frank has made an important contribution: he shows how the past teaches us the critical importance of solidarity in tackling the challenges facing working people today.”

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“Frank makes it apparent that the federation has always struggled to secure its footing in a province where full-time, permanent employment has long been a contentious issue. As such, it had, of necessity, to swing between pragmatism and a more militant orientation. Nevertheless, Provincial Solidarities demonstrates that the workers of the province took their responsibilities seriously as concerned and conscientious citizens, most notably with respect to the economic and environmental health of New Brunswick. The book, an important one for New Brunswick, will be of interest to historians, sociologists, and political scientists, and it is well suited for undergraduate courses on labour, economic, and political issues. That the book was released in the province’s two official languages makes it doubly significant for the people whose history it recounts.”

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“David Frank offers a wide compendium of federation struggles to improve labor laws in this Atlantic Canada province. Of particular importance were the many attempts to address workplace health and safety and workers’ compensation. What broadens the scope of this history, however, is Frank’s attention to the role of women and minorities who worked to build the federation and to fight the hard fights that are part of New Brunswick labor’s history. This veteran labor historian displays an insightful ability to address the strong points in that history and to resist avoiding the flaws.”

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“Frank’s portrait of the federation is sympathetic and positive, but it is no mere celebration of past achievements. The book offers a carefully reasoned reminder of the contribution of unions and their central organizations. The provincial context necessarily takes priority, but readers are given the opportunity to observe where the New Brunswick story resembles and differs from patterns in other provinces. We are left wishing for similar historical accounts of other provincial federations and the labour histories they reflect.”

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David Frank teaches Canadian history at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. A former editor of the journal of Atlantic regional history, Acadiensis, he has published numerous studies in Canadian history, including Labour Landmarks in New Brunswick / Lieux historiques ouvriers au Nouveau-Brunswick (with Nicole Lang). His classic study of Cape Breton coal miners, J. B. McLachlan: A Biography, received several historical and literary awards, including the Dartmouth Book Award (Non-Fiction) and the John W. Dafoe Book Prize.

 
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Hobohemia and the Crucifixion Machine

Athabasca University Press | Fabriks: Studies in the Working Class


In the early years of the Great Depression, thousands of unemployed homeless transients settled into Vancouver’s “hobo jungle.” The jungle operated as a distinct community, in which goods were exchanged and shared directly, without benefit of currency. The organization of life was immediate and consensual, conducted in the absence of capital accumulation. But as the transients moved from the jungles to the city, they made innumerable demands on Vancouver’s Relief Department, consuming financial resources at a rate that threatened the city with bankruptcy. In response, the municipality instituted a card-control system—no longer offering relief recipients currency to do with as they chose. It also implemented new investigative and assessment procedures, including office spies, to weed out organizational inefficiencies. McCallum argues that, threatened by this “ungovernable society,” Vancouver’s Relief Department employed Fordist management methods that ultimately stripped the transients of their individuality.

Vancouver’s municipal government entered into contractual relationships with dozens of private businesses, tendering bids for meals in much the same fashion as for printing jobs and construction projects. As a result, entrepreneurs clamoured to get their share of the state spending. With the emergence of work relief camps, the provincial government harnessed the only currency that homeless men possessed: their muscle. This new form of unfree labour aided the province in developing its tourist driven “image” economy, as well as facilitating the transportation of natural resources and manufactured goods. It also led eventually to the most significant protest movement of 1930s’ Canada, the On-to-Ottawa Trek. Hobohemia and the Crucifixion Machine explores the connections between the history of transiency and that of Fordism, offering a new interpretation of the economic and political crises that wracked Canada in the early years of the Great Depression.

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"… offers a new way interpreting shifts in relief policy for scholars of the Depression. Yet, it is McCallum’s theoretical arguments that stand out. Historians may prove reluctant in adopting ‘indivisible analytic totality’ like McCallum. Nonetheless, it provides a new and interesting way of incorporating Foucault and Adorno into social history analyses."

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"The respectful way in which McCallum approaches the literature is entirely laudable. Too many scholarly works begin from the premise that everything that has gone before needs to be exposed as fundamentally wrong, a task that is crowned by a new, revised interpretation that finally sets the record straight. McCallum presents an alternative viewpoint rather than a cagematch. [...] This book contains challenging ideas built on superb archival research; it offers up fresh perspectives and it contains a historical tale worth reading."

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Todd McCallum is assistant professor in the Department of History, Dalhousie University.

 
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