'A Almshouse Ting Dat': Developments in Poor Relief and Child Welfare in Jamaica during the Interwar Years, August 21, 2012, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
This dissertation examines the development of poor relief and child welfare policy in Jamaica during the interwar years. It establishes the paradigms of accessing relief and how this influenced broader discussions of poverty, class and citizenship in society. As such it shows how these concerns about poverty, in the public sphere, influenced state policy as it related to tackling juvenile delinquency and destitution in society.
Currently, the historiography of the 1930s emphasizes the role of labor unrest as a propelling force to political change in the Caribbean. My thesis, while accepting this premise, uses the poor relief administration to elaborate upon the response of colonial administrators to pauperism in Jamaica. Financial difficulties restricted the amount of assistance provided to the aged and infirm, single mothers, orphans and juvenile delinquents. Inevitability, access to assistance became tinged with tensions of race, class and gender in the island. I conclude, therefore, that colonial administrators used the poor relief administration to intervene in the dialectic of poverty, class, citizenship and gender especially in the rehabilitation of destitute, displaced and delinquent children.