Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Maternalism Reconsidered

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 social ramifications.


Chapter 1. Introduction
Rebecca Jo Plant and Marian van der Klein

Chapter 2. Beyond Maternalism
Sonya Michel

Chapter 3. The State, the Women’s Movement and Maternity Insurance, 1900-1930: A Dutch Maternalism?
Marian van der Klein

Chapter 4. Mobilising Mothers in the Nation’s Service: Civic Culture in France’s Familial Welfare State, 1890‑1914
Lori R. Weintrob

Chapter 5. Speaking on Behalf of Others:Dutch Social Workers and The Problem of Maternalist Condescension
Berteke Waaldijk

Chapter 6. ‘Respectable Citizens of Canada’: Gender and the Welfare State in the Great Depression
Lara Campbell

Chapter 7. The Gold Star Mothers Pilgrimages: Patriotic Maternalists and Their Critics in the Interwar U.S.
Rebecca Jo Plant

Chpaptr 8. Protecting Mothers in Order to Protect Children: Maternalism and the 1935 Pan-American Child Congress
Nichole Sanders

Chapter 9. Maternal and Child Welfare, State Policy and Women’s Philanthropic Activities in Brazil, 1930-45
Maria Lúcia Mott

Chapter 10. Maternalism in a Paternalist State: The National Organization for the Protection of Motherhood and Infancy in Fascist Italy
Elisabetta Vezzosi

Chapter 11. Maternalism, Soviet-Style: The Working ‘Mothers with Many Children’ in Postwar Western Ukraine
Yoshie Mitsuyoshi

Chapter 12. Infant-Maternity Health and Nutritional Programmes in Argentina: Maternalism without Maternalists?
Alma Idiart

Chapter 13. Afterword: Maternalism Today
Rebecca Jo Plant