Beginning in the late 19th century, competing ideas about
motherhood had a profound impact on the development and
implementation of social welfare policies. Calls for programmes
aimed at assisting and directing mothers emanated from all quarters
of the globe, advanced by states and voluntary organizations,
liberals and conservatives, feminists and anti-feminists OCo a
phenomenon that scholars have since termed OCymaternalismOCO. This
volume reassesses maternalism by providing critical reflections on
prior usages of the concept, and by expanding its meaning to
encompass geographical areas, political regimes and cultural
concerns that scholars have rarely addressed. From Argentina,
Brazil and Mexico City to France, Italy, the Netherlands, the
Soviet Ukraine, the United States and Canada, these case studies
offer fresh theoretical and historical perspectives within a
transnational and comparative framework. As a whole, the volume
demonstrates how maternalist ideologies have been employed by state
actors, reformers and poor clients, with myriad political and
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