By Andrew Holman
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Extra resources for A Sense of Their Duty: Middle-Class Formation in Victorian Ontario Towns
It also demands that they synthesize or consolidate historical knowledge about social mobility and workplace change completed in the past thirty years and about "cultures of consumption" still ongoing. Finally, it sets aside concern about the necessity of identifying a middle-class consciousness as the key to studying the middle class as a coherent social formation. As importantly, Giddens' approach provides a way around the seemingly intractable conceptual problems cited above. Hardly a transitory stratum, in Giddens' model the middle class in industrializing society is stable and perennial.
God bless the noble working men, Who rear the cities of the plain, Who dig the mines, who build the ships, And drive the commerce of the main. God bless them! 11 The producer ideology was replicated in local discourse and deliberation as well. The dozens of new towns that proliferated in Ontario in the second half of the nineteenth century and competed with one another for commerce and industry provided a series of new, local contexts for these ideas. Itinerant lecturers and local debating societies waxed philosophic about topics like "the dignity of labour" and "the effects of wealth on morality" in towns like Gait and Goderich.
14 The work ideal, it is important to note, was a gendered ideal. On one hand, the ostensible benefits of industry were available to both sexes; "honest labour" knew no work typology. For those few women who worked as entrepreneurs on their own behalves, in partnership with spouse or siblings or as employees, the fruits of hard labour were real and apparent. But most women did not work for wages, salaries, or direct personal profit in Victorian Ontario. The benefits of relentless work for those who toiled "from sun 'til sun" in reproductive and domestic labour were harder to see and appreciate.