Making Vancouver, 1863-1913
AUTHOR: McDonald, Robert A. and McDonald, Robert A. J.
PUBLISHER: University of British Columbia Press
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Making Vancouver explores social relationships in Vancouverfrom 1863 to 1913. It considers how urbanization structured socialboundaries among Burrard Inlet's increasingly large population andis premised on the belief that, in studying social boundaries,historians must abandon single category forms of analysis and buildinto their research strategies the capacity to explore complexity.Robert McDonald thus traces the relationship between the two forms ofidentify, class and status, for the whole of Vancouver society.
The book starts with the years when settlement on Burrard Inletcentred around two lumber mills, explores periods of elite dominance ofcity institutions and then of growing social and political conflictfollowing the arrival of the railway, examines the heightening of classtensions at the turn of the century, charts economic growth during theboom years before the war, and concludes with three chapters on thetripartite status hierarchy that emerged in concert with that of aclass dichotomy. It reveals a western city that was neither egalitariannor closed to opportunity. Vancouver up to the pre-war crash of 1913was open and dynamic. The rapidity of growth, easy access to resources,narrow industrial base, and influence of ethnicity and race softenedthe thrust towards class division inherent in capitalism. Far morepowerful in directing social relations was the quest for status,creating a social structure that was no less hierarchical than thatpredicted by class theory but much more fluid. The social boundary thatseparated the working class from others is revealed as a division thatfor much of the pre-war boom period divided Vancouver society morefundamentally than the boundary separating labour from capital.
PUBLICATION DATE: 10/30/1996
CATEGORY: History, Social Science