Parr, Sutherland, and Bullen Article Analysis on Urban and Rural Children's Labor and Economic Responsibilities
This is a 10 page paper discussing economic and labor responsibilities in children in rural farm families and urban working class children. Joy Parr’s chapter “Apprentice or Adopted” (1994) and Neil Sutherland’s chapter “The Working Lives of Modern Pioneers” (1997) tell of the work ethics, expectations, patriarchal control, family economic status, and gender role development in rural households and communities. Parr addresses the enterprising structure of families on farms which in addition to their gendered-role structure in which all members of families must contribute to the maintenance of the farm, also takes into account the position of immigrant children apprentices. While many farm children are unable to attend schools because of obligations on the farm, this is further diminished in regards to the immigrant children who have fewer educational opportunities than farm children. Sutherland’s work further argues the opportunities which are missed by rural children who are not always able to go to school because of work obligations on the farm. He argues that urban children, who do not have these same obligations, are therefore offered more educational opportunities and subsequent professional opportunities. John Bullen in his article “Hidden Workers: Child Labour and the Family Economy in Late Nineteenth-Century Urban Ontario” (1992) takes this argument one step further. While agreeing that rural children are at a disadvantage because of their labor obligations, so too are urban working class children who also live within family structures where every family member must contribute either in labor or wages in order to sustain the family lifestyle. In all cases, middle and upper class children who do not have the same labor obligations are given more educational, professional and social mobility opportunities in their stead.
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