Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This study explores the relationship between the family and the state in Canada in order to explain the persistence and dynamic of patriarchy in contemporary capitalist societies. We specify the connection between capitalism and patriarchy through an analysis of the relationship between production and reproduction as it is revealed in-the intersection of family, labour, and welfare law. The selection of a legislative focus for the analysis of patriarchy is the outgrowth of a theoretical perspective that identifies the state as the critical mediator in the coordination of productive and reproductive relations.
We undertake a study of eighty-four years (1884-1968) of legislation in three jurisdictions; Ontario, Manitoba, and the federal government. We present a content analysis of family, labour, and welfare law as they inform state mediation of the flow of labour and income resources between the productive and reproductive sphere. We also present an analysis of the policy processes which precede legislation and the bureaucratic structures which enforce legislation to reveal the central role of the state in the changing dynamic of patriarchy. We identify the increasing significance of state intervention within the reproductive sphere as evidence of a transition in the structure and operation of patriarchy from a decentralized family based system to a centralized state based system of authority and support.
This centralization of authority and support for reproduction within the state is identified as a transition from familial to social patriarchy. This process specifies the material basis of the increasing dependence of the family, the state. As we see the state evolve, in its relation to women and children as provider and patriarch, we better understand why it has become the focal point of struggle over reproductive and family issues today.
Ursel, Elizabeth Jane, "Reproducing Canada: A Feminist Analysis of Family-State Dynamics" (1991). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 3576.