Une catégorie de chômeurs à part : Les cols blancs de Montréal, 1930-1935

Type of resource
Une catégorie de chômeurs à part : Les cols blancs de Montréal, 1930-1935
During the economic crisis of the 1930s, white-collar workers found themselves among the ranks of the unemployed, thus creating a "new class of the poor”. The author explores the phenomenon of unemployment among Montreal white-collar workers and reveals their experience of the crisis. She focuses on public assistance programs set up for English-speaking Protestants, English-speaking Catholics, French-speaking Catholics and Jews to help the unemployed and the reaction of white collar workers and some of the charity leaders to the crisis and to a system of public assistance deemed inadequate for white-collar unemployed. The author reveals that the experience and the reactions of white-collar workers to the crisis was shaped by their middle class identity. No longer able to maintain the standards of respectability and the lifestyle associated with the middle class, and forced to seek public assistance alongside unemployed of the working class, unemployment threatened white-collar workers’ ability to stay in the middle class. She notes that the fear of losing their social status and the fear of being associated with the working-class unemployed pushed white-collar workers to distance themselves from them, to reaffirm their belonging to the middle class and to demand assistance programs that met their specific needs. Some charity leaders who believed that white-collar unemployed deserved special treatment also contributed to this differentiation.
Labour / Le Travail
Vol. 84
Automne 2019
Roy, Sonya. “Une catégorie de chômeurs à part : Les cols blancs de Montréal, 1930-1935.” Labour / Le Travail Vol. 84 (Automne 2019): 107–140. https://www.erudit.org/en/journals/llt/2019-v84-llt05057/1066539ar/.
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