Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This thesis attempts to identify the nature of the relationship between community-based collective action and the social context within which it is found. A marxist/realist framework for analysis is employed to develop a model illustrating the links between these phenomena, and between each and the causal mechanisms underlying capitalist society. Given the role of government agencies in structuring community life, the welfare state is seen to be the key connection between underlying structure and the elements of the level of experience. Empirical evidence is drawn from a study of community organizing by the single parent population of the Jane-Finch area of Metropolitan Toronto. Here, collective action is a response by a community- and service-dependent population to a social context affected greatly by the policies adopted by the institutions of the welfare state. In turn, collective initiatives launched by Jane-F inch's single parents have led to change, through ameliorating certain social conditions or creating an environment favourable for further community struggle. At the same time, however, social context influences the nature of community responses, and plays a role In determining their potential. In Jane-Finch, the welfare state plays a role here also; the capacity of the community's voluntary sector is severely limited by the fiscal restraint and bureaucratic organization characteristic of the relevant state agencies.
Douglas, James Alexander, "Community Struggles and Contradictions in the Welfare State" (1986). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6703.
McMaster University Library