By Andrew Holman
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Additional info for A Sense of Their Duty: Middle-Class Formation in Victorian Ontario Towns
Systematic wage rates for Ontario in these years are not readily available, and recent research in reconstructing them has focused largely on working-class standards of living. But some fragmentary evidence remains that illustrates how pay differences reinforced the line drawn between manual and non-manual work in the mid-Victorian era. Wage schedules from the Ontario Bureau of Industries' reports for the i88os, for example, are instructive. 38. 21. 27 Work, Authority, and the Middle Class Significantly, every non-manual occupation listed surpassed both the average wage and almost every wage for a manual occupation.
9 There is no small difficulty in determining an appropriate point of departure for studying a topic as vast as the middle class in Canadian history. Inevitably, though, a series of questions both historical and historiographical emerge and recur. Why has the middle class not been studied in Canadian history as a "class unto themselves"? What do we mean by the term "middle class"? What kinds of conceptual frameworks or strategies can historians use as guides to better define the middle class as an historical subject?
Rather, a system of production - capitalism - distributed people into "class situations" (wage-labourer, salaried professional, capitalist). Class formation itself emerged from conflicts between the interests articulated and "felt" by people within these situations. Here, the middle class, like the wealthy and working classes, exists only as conflict group; it behaves in "class ways" only through collective struggle. "21 But what conflicts? " John Gilkeson's Middle-Class Providence, 1820— 1940, (1986), is a rare example of the application of a Thompsonian conception of class to the intermediate stratum.
A Sense of Their Duty: Middle-Class Formation in Victorian Ontario Towns by Andrew Holman