From Charitable Relief to Social Control: The Criminalization of People with Disabilities in Nineteenth Century Canada

Main Article Content

Roy Hanes

Keywords

disability, cripples, history, Canada

Abstract

In recent years, academics interested in the field of disability studies have argued that the disability category is a socially constructed category influenced by historical, social, political, cultural and economic factors.  In the present era a dominant social construction of disability is that disability is primarily a "personal tragedy" (Oliver, 1990) requiring medical intervention.  Prior to the medical model social construction of the disability category, disability was primarily defined as a social and legal category linked to social welfare and charitable relief (Stone, 1984).  These two social constructs of disability (social/legal and medical model) have received a great deal of attention in recent years but there is at least one social construction of disability that has not received as much investigation and that has to do with disability as a criminal category.  The following article attempts to examine the criminalization of people with disabilities by using the case example of the care and treatment of people with orthopedic disabilities living in the province of Ontario, Canada, during the 19th Century.

Abstract 212 | PDF Downloads 73 Word Downloads 20 Text Downloads 48

References

Albrecht, G., Seelman, K. D., & Bury, M. (2001). Handbook of disability studies. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.

Baehre, R. (1981). Paupers and poor relief in upper Canada. Paper presented at the meeting of the Canadian Historical Association, Learned Societies Conference, Halifax, NS.

Brown, T. (1980). Living with God's afflicted: A history of the Provincial Lunatic Asylum at Toronto 1830-1911. Unpublished master’s thesis, Queens University.

Bowe, F. (1978). Handicapping America: Barriers to disabled people. New York: Harper and Rowe.

Finkelstein, V. (1981). Disability and the Helper/Helped Relationship: An Historical View. In A. Brechin, P. Lidiard, and J. Swain (Eds.), Handicap in a Social World (pp. 58-65). Suffolk, UK: Chaucer Press.

Guest, D. (1980). The emergence of social security in Canada. Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia Press.

Haley, B. (1978). The healthy body and Victorian culture. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Hanes, R. (1995). The medicalization of disability: The rise of the crippled child saving movement in Ontario, 1880-1940. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec.

Hanes, R. (1996). Linking physical defect to physical deformity: The case of crippled children in Ontario: 1880-1940. Journal on Developmental Disabilities, 4(1), 23-40.

Henderson, C. (1904). An introduction to the study of the dependent, defective and delinquent classes. London, UK: D.C. Heath.

Ingstad, B., & Reynolds Whyte, S. (1995). Disability and culture. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Irving, A. (1987). From no Poor Law to the Social Assistance Review: A history of social assistance in Ontario, 1791-1987. A Study Prepared for the Ontario Social Assistance Review.

Jennissen, T. (1991). Regulating the workplace in industrial Ontario: The origins of occupational health and safety policy, 1880 –1914. Unpublished master’s thesis, McGill University.

Kealey, G. (1973). Canada investigates Industrialism: The Royal Commission on the Relations of Labour and Capital. Toronto, Ontario: University of Toronto Press.

Marks, D. (1999). Disability: Controversial debates and psychological perspectives. London: Routledge Publishing.

McMurtrie, D. (1914). The care of cripples. In C. L. Stedman (Ed.), The reference handbook of the medical sciences (pp. 366-367). New York: William Wood and Co.

Mitchell, D., & Snyder, S. (1997). The body and physical difference: Discourses of disability. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Oliver, M. (1990). The politics of disablement. London, UK: Macmillan Educational Ltd.

Pitsula, J. (1979). The relief of poverty in Toronto, 1880-1930. Unpublished master’s thesis, York University.

Safilios-Rothchild, C. (1970). The sociology and the social psychology of disability and rehabilitation. New York: Random House.

Scull, A. (1979). Museums of madness: The social organization of insanity in nineteenth century England. London, UK: The Trinity Press.

Splane, R. B. (1965). Social welfare in Ontario, 1791-1893: A study of public welfare administration. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.

Stone, D. (1984). The disabled state. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Trattner, W. (1984). From poor law to welfare state: A history of social welfare in America. New York: The Free Press.

Valverde, M. (1991). The age of light, soap and water: Moral reform in English Canada, 1885-1925. Toronto, ON: McClelland and Stewart Inc.

Wallace, E. (1950). The changing Canadian State: A study of the changing conception of the State as revealed in Canadian social legislation, 1867-1948. Unpublished master’s thesis, Columbia University.

Williams, G. (2001). Theorizing Disability. In G. Albrecht, K. D. Seelman, & M. Bury (Eds.), Handbook of disability studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Zola, I. K. (1972). Medicine as an Institution of Social Control. Sociological review, 20(4), 487- 504.

Government Documents

City of Toronto (1847). An Act for the Arrest and the Punishment of Vagrants. Toronto, Ontario: City of Toronto By-Law.

City of Toronto (1890). A By-Law Relating to Public Morals. Toronto, Ontario: City of Toronto By-Law 2449.

City of Toronto (1904). A By-Law Relating to Public Morals. Toronto, Ontario: City of Toronto, City of Toronto By-Law 4305.

Province of Ontario (1891). Report to the Royal Commission on Prisons, Asylums and Public Charities.

Province of Ontario (1880-1900). Annual Report of the Inspector of Asylums, Prisons and Public Charities. Toronto, Ontario: Province of Ontario. Ontario Sessional Papers.

Similar Articles

1 2 3 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.