Academic journal article Canadian Review of Social Policy

Editorial/éditorial

Academic journal article Canadian Review of Social Policy

Editorial/éditorial

Article excerpt

CRSP is pleased to launch our first issue devoted to the scholarship of graduate students in Social Policy / Social Work. We began this project in the Fall of 2015, with the ambitious goal of publishing the issue by Spring of 2016, in time for the School of Social Work's Annual Research Symposium at York University. We did it! We have to thank our Managing Editor, Catherine Duchastel who worked tirelessly on this issue, while keeping our usual publishing timetable intact and Wendy McKeen (co-editor) for her critical insights, editing, and supportive work with the authors. We also need to thank the cast of reviewers from across Canada who agreed to very quick turnaround times so we could reach our goal. Thank you to York's School of Social Work for the in-kind support of the journal. Finally, thank you to the authors who quickly responded to both the substantive and minor changes and edits of their manuscripts.

The articles in this issue demonstrate a keen commitment to social policy and equity issues in relation to how history, culture, workers, and youth are positioned and shaped to keep dominant voices, ideas and actors at the helm of public life. Our first two articles point to the importance of keeping our critical eye on the past. Our histories need to be re-examined and interrogated for the ways in which they keep the present intact and assumed. We begin with Edward Hon-Sing Wong's article: "The Brains of a Nation": The Eugenicist Roots of Canada's Mental Health Field and the Building of a White Non-Disabled Nation, a critical analysis of a mental health journal written between, 1918-1921. His analysis shows how our earliest scholars and practitioners viewed mental health in close proximity to eugenics, race and disability to secure a white non-disabled nation. A.J. Withers' contribution, (Re)constructing and (re)habilitating the disabled body: World War One era disability policy and its enduring ramifications adds to this time period, in their look at the emergence of federal rehabilitation and pension programs for disabled soldiers during World War One in Canada. From the beginning, these programs viewed rehabilitation and disability as economic levers for the creation of productive workers, leading to the approach used in social welfare programs generally and a medical model of disability.

Critical connections between the past and present are starkly drawn in Anh Ngo's article, "Journey to Freedom Day Act": The making of the Vietnamese subject in Canada and the erasure of the Vietnam War. Ngo examines how national days of commemoration are political acts that uphold nation building practices through history. The ideological drive to produce both historical and contemporary myths about Canada, embedded in this Act, applauds the nation's generosity towards Vietnamese refugees, who are singularly depicted as grateful supporters of western democracies. As Ngo argues, these forms of material and epistemic violence(s) rooted in the Cold War ignores Canada's role in the Vietnam War and has long lasting effects on the Vietnamese community.

The last two articles examine how social policies specifically designed to reduce harm, instead exacerbate forms of marginalization. In the first case, Elene Lam's Inspection, policing and racism: How municipal bylaws endanger the lives of Chinese sex workers in Toronto, tracks how municipal bylaws and inspectors violate the human rights of sex workers and undermine their health and safety. In a unique contribution, Lam draws from interviews with sex workers themselves, who describe how immigration policies, policing, and bylaw surveillance compromises their everyday safety and dignity. Our final article also questions policies that in this case, invite racialized youth into decision making spaces in institutions. In Affirmative Governmentality and the Politics of Youth Inclusion: A Critical Analysis of Youth Voice and Engagement in Ontario, Maria Bernard examines how asset- based and Positive Youth Development models have overtaken the youth sector and in her view, work to gloss over the deep structural inequities facing youth today. …

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