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Le Canada : un pays divers

La diversité culturelle au Canada vue par Jean-Michel Lacroix

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Edited By Hélène Harter and Serge Jaumain

À l’heure où les Européens s’interrogent sur les réponses à apporter à l’intensification des flux migratoires, le Canada où la gestion de l’immigration et de la diversité culturelle occupe une place centrale dans la vie intellectuelle et politique depuis les années 1960 attire l’attention de nombreux observateurs.
Saisir la complexité et la richesse de ces débats, nécessite une étude fine de l’évolution de la société canadienne. Qui de mieux que Jean-Michel Lacroix pouvait livrer cette analyse ?
Ce « canadianiste » internationalement reconnu, pionnier des études canadiennes tant en France qu’au niveau international a publié pendant une trentaine d’année des textes de référence sur les questions d’immigration et de multiculturalisme. Hélène Harter et Serge Jaumain ont choisi de réunir ici une sélection de ses articles qui restent d’une étonnante actualité et permettent de suivre l’évolution d’une pensée originale bien loin des clichés et autres idées reçues sur la réalité canadienne.
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The Cultural Identities of Canada and the United States (1999)

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1

The standpoint I have taken when wording my paper may sound rather ambitious but I will situate it in a comparative perspective because I am among those who consider that comparison alone can bring out similitudes and above all differences. There are but a few of us who practise this art. However I must confess I have illustrious predecessors: Alexis de Tocqueville, adopting a French point of view, who pointed out the differences and similarities between America and France by observing “in situ”, at the beginning of the 1830s, Jacksonian democracy, as well as André Siegfried, who visited the Canada of Wilfrid Laurier on the eve of the first world war or, more recently, an American observer, Seymour Martin Lipset, who also compares these two cultures with which he is very familiar2.

I personally will prefer to favour the historical and comparative approach because the historical reference has an indubitable advantage, and this for two reasons: contemporary events can only be fully understood if interpreted in the light of past events and the concept of identity constantly develops. But before we speak about cultural identities, it would be necessary to explain what is meant by “identity” and “culture”. What a vast subject! In fact, a comparison between the United States and Canada will allow us to point out more clearly the cultural specificity of Canada in relation to the United States.

So, right from the start, crops up the problem of the validity...

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