Movable Type

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Today, nation is often the paramount category organizing scholarship, politics, and other identities. Nations, states, and labor markets are imagined as coterminous; when they are not, it must be corrected or explained. But it has not always been so. Studying the Toronto members of the International Typographical Union, this chapter explores the communities in which skilled workers placed themselves in the early years of Canadian confederation: a North American working class, a British imperial nation, and a Canadian polity. As North American workers, they made claims on their employers (for higher wages and shorter hours) and their fellows (to respect their union's authority); as British subjects, they made claims on the larger public (to support their right to organize and strike); and as Canadians, they made claims on their elected officials and the state (to change specific laws). Their group memberships overlapped, and printers accessed them as they found them relevant. As their monthly meeting minutes, their sojourns back and forth across the border, the newspaper they began publishing during an important strike, and their political activism in the election of 1872 show, Toronto's printers operated when neither they nor others expected nation, state, and labor market to be congruent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWorkers Across the Americas
Subtitle of host publicationThe Transnational Turn in Labor History
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199894420
ISBN (Print)9780199731633
StatePublished - May 1 2011


  • International typographical union
  • Labor market
  • Nation
  • Printers
  • State
  • Toronto

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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