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Sonya Roy

Sonya Roy

Best Article Prize in Labour History


Sonya Roy. « Une catégorie de chômeurs à part : les cols blancs de Montréal, 1930-1935 », Labour/Le Travail 84 (automne 2019) : 107-140.

Roy’s insightful and original study sheds light on a frequently neglected segment of the unemployed during the 1930s. Unemployed white-collar workers, studied here in Montréal, constituted a “new class of the poor” whose middle-class identity caused them to distance themselves from other workers who shared their economic plight. Roy’s intensive research in archival and newspaper sources explores the condition of this segment of the working class as well as their individual and collective responses. Her study highlights the conservative rhetoric that attempted to preserve distinctions of education and respectability and blamed other workers, particularly working women, for their economic dislocation. Roy’s perceptive analysis encourages close consideration of the ways class and gender assumptions divided the working class in this period and also contributes to the continuing contemporary discourse concerning the historical significance of middle-class identities.