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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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Introduction. Religion (Georges Leroux)


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Georges LEROUX

Research on cultural diversity in Quebec has come a long way since the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences submitted its report (Building for the Future. A Time for Reconciliation) in 2008. The Commission was an opportunity to examine a number of issues regarding integration, minorities, rights and, more generally, identity-related issues. These issues can be divided into three main categories of research. The first includes the research conducted on community demands and on the status of minorities who define themselves on the basis of their ethnic or religious origins. A vast number of historical and sociological studies have been produced in this category, which comprises investigations in the fields of demography and immigration. The second category consists of normative research pertaining to rights and has seen a host of works in critical sociology and philosophy, as well as in legal studies relating to multiculturalism, to integration (defined as a finality) and to interculturalism (a concept set forth by Gérard Bouchard, co-president of the Commission). Numerous works in political science and political philosophy about democracy and pluralism also belong in this category. The third, less well-defined category of research addresses the identity issues particular to Quebec and the province’s status within Canadian confederation. Although on several points the first category regarding minorities overlaps our third category of research, its studies on identity concern federal linkages first and foremost, along with studies about...

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