Imagined Orphans: Poor Families, Child Welfare, And Contested Citizenship in London (Series in Childhood Studies) (Rutgers Series in Childhood Studies)

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9780813537221: Imagined Orphans: Poor Families, Child Welfare, And Contested Citizenship in London (Series in Childhood Studies) (Rutgers Series in Childhood Studies)

With his dirty, tattered clothes and hollowed-out face, Oliver Twist is the enduring symbol of the young indigent spilling out of orphanages and haunting the streets of late-nineteenth-century London. Although poor children were often portrayed as real-life Oliver Twists—either orphaned or abandoned by unworthy parents—they in fact frequently maintained contact and were eventually reunited with their families.

In Imagined Orphans, Lydia Murdoch focuses on this discrepancy between the representation and the reality of children’s experiences within welfare institutions—a discrepancy that she argues stems from conflicts over middle- and working-class notions of citizenship that arose in the 1870s and persisted until the First World War. Reformers’ efforts to depict poor children as either orphaned or endangered by abusive or “no-good” parents fed upon the poor’s increasing exclusion from the Victorian social body. Reformers used the public’s growing distrust and pitiless attitude toward poor adults to increase charity and state aid to the children.

With a critical eye to social issues of the period, Murdoch urges readers to reconsider the complex situations of families living in poverty. While reformers’ motivations seem well intentioned, she shows how their methods solidified the public’s antipoor sentiment and justified a minimalist welfare state that engendered a cycle of poverty. As they worked to fashion model citizens, reformers’ efforts to protect and care for children took on an increasingly imperial cast that would continue into the twentieth century.

 

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About the Author:

Lydia Murdoch is an assistant professor of history at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Review:

"This superb study is based on dense and creative archival research and makes important contributions to our knowledge of the operation of the English poor law, child rescue procedures, and working-class family life in nineteenth-century London."  "Murdoch has written a book that is both masterful and thought-provoking."--Ellen Ross, Journal of Social History

"A major contribution to policy-making, to the discourses surrounding poor children, to the ways in which poor parents negotiated the best deals they could for their children, and to the perceived relationship between children and the future of the nation."--Hugh Cunningham, Journal of Victorian Culture

"Murdoch has written a scholarly, informative, and perceptive account that will join the ranks of required reading for those seeking to understand late-Victorian and Edwardian England."--Harry Hendrick, Economic History Review

An "imaginative, well-crafted study."  "By using a chronology shaped not by poor laws but by suffrage, war, and empire, Murdoch anchors her story of public policy in a wider political framework, creating a welcome fusion of welfare and national history."--Lynn Hollen Lees, The London Journal

Imagined Orphans "is a work that is worth reading and studying as a model of multidisciplinary scholarship."--Selena R. Paulsen, Children, Youth and Environments

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Book Description Rutgers University Press, United States, 2006. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. With his dirty, tattered clothes and hollowed-out face, the image of Oliver Twist is the enduring symbol of the young indigent spilling out of the orphanages and haunting the streets of late-nineteenth-century London. He is the victim of two evils: an aristocratic ruling class and, more directly, neglectful parents. Although poor children were often portrayed as real-life Oliver Twists - either orphaned or abandoned by unworthy parents - they, in fact, frequently maintained contact and were eventually reunited with their families. In Imagined Orphans , Lydia Murdoch focuses on this discrepancy between the representation and the reality of children s experiences within welfare institutions - a discrepancy that she argues stems from conflicts over middle- and working-class notions of citizenship. Reformers efforts to depict poor children as either orphaned or endangered by abusive or no-good parents fed upon the poor s increasing exclusion from the Victorian social body. Reformers used the public s growing distrust and pitiless attitude toward poor adults to increase charity and state aid to the children. With a critical eye to social issues of the period, Murdoch urges readers to reconsider the stereotypically dire situation of families living in poverty. While reformers motivations seem well-intentioned, she shows how their methods solidified the public s anti-poor sentiment and justified a minimalist welfare state that engendered a cycle of poverty. As they worked to fashion model citizens, reformers efforts to protect and care for children took on an increasingly imperial cast that would continue into the twentieth century. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780813537221

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Book Description Rutgers University Press, United States, 2006. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. With his dirty, tattered clothes and hollowed-out face, the image of Oliver Twist is the enduring symbol of the young indigent spilling out of the orphanages and haunting the streets of late-nineteenth-century London. He is the victim of two evils: an aristocratic ruling class and, more directly, neglectful parents. Although poor children were often portrayed as real-life Oliver Twists - either orphaned or abandoned by unworthy parents - they, in fact, frequently maintained contact and were eventually reunited with their families. In Imagined Orphans , Lydia Murdoch focuses on this discrepancy between the representation and the reality of children s experiences within welfare institutions - a discrepancy that she argues stems from conflicts over middle- and working-class notions of citizenship. Reformers efforts to depict poor children as either orphaned or endangered by abusive or no-good parents fed upon the poor s increasing exclusion from the Victorian social body. Reformers used the public s growing distrust and pitiless attitude toward poor adults to increase charity and state aid to the children. With a critical eye to social issues of the period, Murdoch urges readers to reconsider the stereotypically dire situation of families living in poverty. While reformers motivations seem well-intentioned, she shows how their methods solidified the public s anti-poor sentiment and justified a minimalist welfare state that engendered a cycle of poverty. As they worked to fashion model citizens, reformers efforts to protect and care for children took on an increasingly imperial cast that would continue into the twentieth century. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780813537221

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