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Engaging with Diversity

Multidisciplinary Reflections on Plurality from Quebec


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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Under the Microscope. Young English-Speakers in Quebec since 1980 (Marie-Odile Magnan)


← 386 | 387 →

Under the Microscope

Young English-Speakers in Quebec since 1980

Marie-Odile MAGNAN

The way we study and analyze young English speakers1 in Quebec has changed significantly over the past 30 years. These changes have resulted mainly from an evolving relationship to otherness among Quebec’s Francophone majority and Anglophone minority and from an emerging intercultural vision of intergroup relations.

In the Quebec of the 1970s, intergroup relations were largely framed by opposing Anglophone–Francophone linguistic boundaries. The new term “Québécois” prompted Quebec Anglophones to redefine and reconsider themselves as a linguistic minority living amid a Francophone majority and, subsequently, the term “Anglo-Quebecer” was coined by intellectuals Caldwell and Waddell (1982) in the scholarly literature. With the Saint-Léonard Crisis in 1968, the election of the Parti Québécois in 1976 and the passing of Bill 101 in 1977, relations became strained between Anglophones and Francophones. During this period of heightened language tensions, a large percentage of English speakers left the province, with record rates of departures occurring between 1976 and 1981.

In the 1980s, young English-speakers in Quebec were primarily studied in the context of addressing what researchers called their “exodus” from the province (Amit-Talai, 1993; Caldwell, 1983; Locher, 1991). This research was chiefly driven by one social issue: the fear of seeing the Anglophone population decline in Quebec and the fear of an Anglophone brain drain toward other Canadian provinces. ← 387 | 388 →

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