Acadians remain one of the few North American historical minorities which has been able to survive as a distinct ethno-cultural and linguistic group. This fact is all the more striking since this people suffered a deportation and dispersion, and it does not possess its own territory, nor does it have a government of its own. Acadians therefore have continually had to face the issue of autonomy in all its varied forms.
The central issue addressed by this book is an inquiry into the nature of the process which has maintained the unique Acadian minority in existence right up to the present day. This study differs from other multidisciplinary analyses of this community principally because it studies the historical continuity of the dynamic of autonomy that has evolved since the beginning of Acadia. The research for this complete chronological framework encompasses a number of intersecting disciplinary approaches at the historical, political, socio-cultural and existential levels. These differing perspectives are harmonized by their common objective of defining the process of autonomization, and the counter-process of heteronomization, which lie at the heart of each of the periods studied. These approaches allow critical openings between the framework of social history, power relationships and the fundamental aspirations of the minority.