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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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Engaging with Diversity. An Introduction (Stéphan Gervais / Raffaele Iacovino / Mary Anne Poutanen)

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Engaging with Diversity

An Introduction

Stéphan GERVAIS, Raffaele IACOVINO, and Mary Anne POUTANEN

Every book project has its own genesis. This one is rooted in a specific political, social and cultural context, wherein the place of identity and pluralism in Quebec has engendered very polarized and emotional reactions locally, nationally, and internationally. Yet questions around collective identity have marked the history of Quebec since its founding (Delâge & Warren, 2001; Havard, 2003; Vincent, 2013). The frontiers of identity (Maclure & Boucher, 2016), ethnicity (Juteau, 2015), culture and language fluctuate and exist in a constant state of contestation and reimagining (Simon, 2006; Tully, 1995). As citizens and researchers we have come to observe a burgeoning monistic rigidity amongst certain reactionary voices, whether they appeal to an absolutist secularism or a more culturalist conception of the political subject in Quebec, that is beginning to dominate the public conversation away from a longstanding consensus around liberal-pluralism. In the context of conflicts around values and cultural and social practices, we felt we needed to contribute to broadening the spectrum of voices to the current debate, to add an inclusive reflection to a conversation that has only intensified over the last decade. In a nutshell, we wanted to offer a multidisciplinary portrait of a plural reality in Quebec that would incorporate historical, social, cultural, political dimensions.

In January 2007 the municipality of Hérouxville, a town of approximately 1 200 White,...

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