"A welcome addition to the literature on gender and social policy,
this anthology addresses critical issues regarding women and the
welfare state. Recognizing that maternalism is more diverse and
nuanced than the simplification initially posed as a critique of
the paternalist welfare state, the editors explore ways in which
women's circumstances varied globally during the 20th century
through chapters on the US, France, Fascist Italy, the Netherlands,
Soviet-era Ukraine, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico...Highly
Recommended." . Choice
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 - a
phenomenon that scholars have since termed 'maternalism'. 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
Marian van der Klein is Senior Researcher at the Verwey-Jonker
Institute. Her historical research focuses on gender, social
history and welfare states, especially the impact of social policy
on the socioeconomic position of women.
Rebecca Jo Plant is Associate Professor of History at the
University of California, San Diego, and the author of Mom: The
Transformation of Motherhood in Modern America (2010).
Nichole Sanders is Associate Professor of History at Lynchburg
College in Virginia. She recently published Gender and Welfare in
Mexico: The Consolidation of a Postrevolutionary State (2011).
Lori R. Weintrob is Associate Professor and Chair of the
History Department at Wagner College in New York City. Her research
focuses on immigration, gender and public policy in France and the
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