In 2003, the Liberal government of British Columbia passed Bill 37 which amended employment standards affecting children, part of an overall process of neoliberal economic restructuring. These changes must be understood within the broader historical context of the restructuring of the market economy. This thesis argues that the economic activity of children is one aspect of working class strategies to maintain family economic stability in the face of capitalist restructuring and, in particular, current efforts to entrench the market principle in society. In order to demonstrate the argument, this thesis employs an historical comparative analysis and draws on the theoretical work of Gramsci, Polanyi and Marx to outline the role of economic and ideological change in shaping working class family strategies to maintain economic stability.
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