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Engaging with Diversity

Multidisciplinary Reflections on Plurality from Quebec

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Edited By Stéphan Gervais, Raffaele Iacovino and Mary-Anne Poutanen

Contributed by leading scholars of Quebec Studies, both emerging and established, the 30 essays of this comprehensive collection offer a multidisciplinary survey of the study of diversity in Quebec over space and time. The volume is organized around a variety of themes through which Quebec’s plural reality is expressed, including conceptual, historical and contemporary approaches, covering a wide range of social and economic cleavages, identity markers, political contestation and, broadly, the lived experiences of Quebecers negotiating difference over time. In an environment increasingly demarcated by conflicts around values and cultural and social practices, this collection hopes to contribute to broadening the spectrum of voices to the current debate, adding an inclusive reflection to a conversation that has only intensified over the last decade. Quebec as a pluri-national and multi-ethnic society has been and remains a great laboratory to study and to test public policies on ethnic diversity. It allows us to identify the tensions and to evaluate the balance between the majority and the minority; and between settler society and indigenous nations, in conceptualizing and finding a normative consensus around the configuration of collective rights. In short, the contributions in this volume seek to illustrate how pluralism has and continues to constitute the lifeblood of belonging in Quebec.

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Introduction. Work and family (Denyse Baillargeon)

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Introduction

Work and family

Denyse BAILLARGEON

In history, as in sociology, the links between work, family and ethnicity have long been a subject of interest for researchers wishing to better understand the connections between these concepts. Inspired by feminist approaches to research that considered women’s domestic activities to be a true form of work, such studies have focussed on the contribution of domestic work to the economic survival of working-class households. While considering the family as a place informed by complex tensions and power relations, these studies have also depicted the family as an entity whose first concern is the necessity of ensuring its own daily and generational reproduction and therefore of developing a variety of strategies to best utilize each person’s skills according to their gender identity as well as the family’s needs and job market opportunities. Interrelations between waged and domestic work, between family strategies and the local economy, and between the form of work practised and gender have also been brought to light in these studies, inextricably connecting the private and public sphere and deconstructing the assimilation of work with job and wages (a paradigm inherited from the industrial era) (Baillargeon, 1999; Bradbury, 1993, 2000; Comacchio, 1999, 2000). The chapter by Yukari Takai, which opens this section, is altogether representative of this type of research, which has upended concepts regarding the role of the family—particularly regarding the roles of women and domestic work within a market...

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