Gender, the State, and Social Reproduction: Household Insecurity in Neo-liberal Times
Policies implemented in the mid to late 1990s in Ontario by Mike Harris's Conservative government have had undeniable repercussions for the population of that province. Kate Bezanson's Gender, the State, and Social Reproduction is the first study to consider the implications of those policies for gender relations - that is, how women and men, families, and households coped with these changes, and how division of labour and standards of living were affected. Bezanson also considers implications of neo-liberalism more generally, for the lives of people living under such regimes.
Beginning with an outline of the restructuring experiment which took place under the Conservative government between 1995 and 2000, Bezanson shows how this process dramatically altered the scope of the welfare state, labour market protections and conditions, and the capacity for people to manage and plan their own lives. She combines this detailed investigation of the changes introduced by Harris with data collected in in-depth interviews of selected Ontario households, in order to examine how neo-liberalism affects daily lives, particularly of low income people, and especially of women. Ultimately, Bezanson finds that the neo-liberal restructuring of Ontario in the 1990s consolidated a gender regime that was highly unsustainable for poor households, many of which were lead by women. A controversial and illuminating study, Gender, the State, and Social Reproduction crosses the disciplines of politics, history, gender studies, and sociology.