Skip to main content

Reassembling Disabled Identities: Employment, Ex-servicemen and the Poppy Factory

Bartlett, Emily (2019) Reassembling Disabled Identities: Employment, Ex-servicemen and the Poppy Factory. Journal of Social History, 54 (1). pp. 210-236. ISSN 0022-4529. (doi:10.1093/jsh/shz111) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:86920)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
https://doi.org/10.1093/jsh/shz111

Abstract

This article explores popular understandings of disability, work, and gender in the context of charitable employment schemes for disabled ex-servicemen after the First World War. It offers a case study of the British Legion–funded poppy factories in Richmond and Edinburgh, which employed war-disabled men to manufacture artificial flowers from 1922 onward. In so doing, this article demonstrates that press reports and charitable publications surrounding the schemes rhetorically incorporated the factories into wider twentieth-century understandings of Taylorist/Fordist productivity and manufacturing and reimagined the sites as sprawling production lines that churned out millions of flowers per year. This discourse positioned flower making as a highly skilled, masculine occupation, and relatedly constructed war-disabled flower makers as successful, productive, and physically capable workers. As one of the most publicly visible employment schemes—which catered to the most severely disabled ex-servicemen—the factories symbolized the potential of all war-disabled men for employment and went some way to challenge widespread perceptions of disabled people as idle, dependent, and useless. Moreover, this discourse represented modern, scientific methods of manufacturing as a way to make disabled bodies efficient and useful. Charitable reports positioned Taylorist/Fordist production as a solution to the problem of mass disability and ultimately countered widespread British discontent with American manufacturing ideals.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/jsh/shz111
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Emily Bartlett
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2021 13:58 UTC
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 11:57 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/86920 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Bartlett, Emily: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9253-9825
  • Depositors only (login required):