After the First World War, many Canadians were concerned with the
possibility of national regeneration. Progressive-minded
politicians, academics, church leaders, and social reformers turned
increasingly to the state for solutions. Yet, as significant as the
state was in articulating and instituting a new morality, outside
actors such as employers were active in pursuing reform agendas as
well, taking aim at the welfare of the family, citizen, and nation.
"Citizen Docker" considers this trend, focusing on the Vancouver
waterfront as a case in point.
After the war, waterfront employers embarked on an ambitious
program - welfare capitalism - to ease industrial relations,
increase the efficiency of the port, and, ultimately, recondition
longshoremen themselves. Andrew Parnaby considers these reforms as
a microcosm of the process of accommodation between labour and
capital that affected Canadian society as a whole in the 1920s and
1930s. By creating a new sense of entitlement among waterfront
workers, one that could not be satisfied by employers during the
Great Depression, welfare capitalism played an important role in
the cultural transformation that took place after the Second World
Encompassing labour and gender history, aboriginal studies, and
the study of state formation, "Citizen Docker" examines the deep
shift in the aspirations of working people, and the implications
that shift had on Canadian society in the interwar years and
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