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|Title:||For the Glory of the Nation: Eugenics, Child-Saving and the Segregation of the 'Feeble-Minded'|
|Keywords:||Child Protection;Eugenics;Critical Theory;Foucauldian Genealogy|
|Abstract:||Throughout the early 20th century, eugenics discourse came to colour many facets of social policy making across Canada. The purpose of this thesis is to explore the ways by which eugenics and the mental hygiene movement impacted the practice of child protection during the early 20th century. I argue that the construction and propagation of the term and classification of ‘feeble-mindedness’ was used by child protection workers to exclude an increasing number of children from both care and society. During this period, social workers were complicit in the sorting, classifying and segregating of children deemed ‘feeble-minded’ with the expressed purpose of eradicating certain classes of people from society and moreover the gene pool. Women shouldered the burden of the social reform movement, as they were considered both the solution to, and the cause, of social ills. Controlling women’s reproduction was seen as the best way to ensure ‘race betterment’. Women at the intersection of race, class and ability were often constructed as ‘feeble-minded’ and segregated for fear that they would reproduce ‘their kind’. Initially, the child protection system blatantly excluded those deemed ‘unworthy’ or ‘unreformable’. Under the rubric of eugenics, however, child protection’s role shifted and the system became complicit in the application of eugenic principle to child and family life and women’s reproduction under the auspice of ‘race betterment’ and nation building. Through this exploratory study, it is evident that the normative structures of child protection policy remain unchanged. Extricating children from troubled environments at the least possible cost continues to trump a more insightful look at how policy and resources should engage with structural concerns, such as poverty.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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|Martel_Gillian_k_Sept2016_Master of Social Work.pdf||2.27 MB||Adobe PDF||View/Open|
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