Cultures of Citizenship in Post-war Canada, 1940 - 1955

Nancy Christie, Michael Gauvreau

Cultures of Citizenship in Post-war Canada, 1940 - 1955
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Cultures of Citizenship in Post-war Canada, 1940 - 1955

Nancy Christie, Michael Gauvreau

Cultures of Citizenship in Post-war Canada, 1940-1955 argues that we need a new view of this period, one that recognizes its considerable cultural and ideological diversity. The authors explore the quest for cultural reconstruction; the emergence of new definitions of elitism, mass culture, and the relationship between the state and the individual; the changing imperatives underlying organized labour’s response to the demands of economic reconstruction; federal-provincial tensions over the shape of welfare policy; the recasting of youth identities by adult authorities and among middle-class university youth; and changing structures of authority within the family under the impact of new psychological expertise. The years between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s have usually been viewed as an era of political and social consensus made possible by widely diffused prosperity, creeping Americanization and fears of radical subversion, and a dominant culture challenged periodically by the claims of marginal groups. By exploring what were actually the mainstream ideologies and cultural practices of the period, the authors argue that the postwar consensus was itself a precarious cultural ideal that was characterized by internal tensions and, while containing elements of conservatism, reflected considerable diversity in the way in which citizenship identities were defined.

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