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Chapter 19

SOC102 Questioning Sociology Chapter 19

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Lorne Tepperman

Questioning Sociology Chapter 19 – What is sovereignty in Quebec? INTRODUCTION 1) Proponents of sovereignty o Quebec has long suffered oppression at the hand of the British Empire and Canada  Conquest of 1760  Repression of various uprisings  Ensuing political, economic, and cultural domination of Anglophone elites  Lack of recognition of Quebec society’s uniqueness o Quebec would be better off as an independent country  Reaction to perceived humiliations  Collective affirmation of Quebec’s distinctive culture and identity  To achieve full political control  To protect the distinctiveness of Quebec culture  To pursue social and political objectives with tools that are currently in the hands of the federal government 2) Opponents of sovereignty o Separatism or secession  a product of narrow nationalism that seeks to protect and defend a particular ethnic group at the expense of both the larger Canadian society and minorities within Quebec o Democratically illegitimate o Violates international law o Goes against the global trend for greater diversity and pluralism 3) Social scientists o Quebec is a historically and culturally distinct community within the large Canadian political entity o Quebec lacks what many other such communities in the world enjoy  Full political control o Quebec’s quest for independence follows a global process that has seen the world divided into clearly defined cultural units (nations) endowed with their own sovereign political institutions (states)  This process has not come to completion in many other parts of the world for historical reasons (e.g., conquest, colonialism)  Scotland, Kurdistan - All three viewpoints contain elements of truth o Preference for one depends on a variety of persona, cultural, and intellectual factors o Each reflects particular political inclinations not amenable to simple right/wrong determinations (UN)NATURAL INDEPENDENCE - Natural political independence  the natural condition for any social group is political independence o This is not always the case, although political independence remains a strong and durable aspect of modern social and political life throughout the world o Lack of ‘fit’ between state and nation  Few states can legitimately claim to be the home of a single, culturally homogenous nation  Few political entities (states) govern a single, culturally homogenous population (nation)  Canada  true multinational state and one of the most diverse places in the world  Quebec  diverse (e.g., Aboriginal groups, linguistic minorities, rising immigration levels)  France and China  oldest nation-states in the world and home to sizeable culturally distinct minority groups  Many of the oldest cultural groups in the world do not live in states of their own (e.g., Aboriginals in Americas) o Language is one measure of a distinct culture  several thousand languages in the world, but only 200 independent states o Western political history  the notion that states could encourage cultural uniformity within their populations (e.g., mould the nations in order to obtain a fit between state and nation)  States are nation-forming states  Based on pathological homogenization  imposition of a single culture on the entire population  Most Western democracies are NOT ethnically neutral  tend not to favour a particular ethnic group  Most Western democracies promote one culture (sometimes more) that is believed to be of the nation o Canada, Switzerland, India  nation-states that are home to several large cultural groups o Italy is for Italians, Brazil is for Brazilians  Norm that nation-states tend to be the home of one dominant group  Notion that political independence is the natural condition of culturally distinct communities o Quebec  Should become a normal country with the attributes of other nation-states  Has become less of a single, homogenous community and more of a community of national communities  Has to share sovereignty with a larger entity WHAT IS A NATION? - Nation  historically fairly recent large communities, territorially bound, sharing a common language and a culture o Constructionism/primordialism debate  Have nations always existed?  Are nations a fairly recent product of modern social life? o France  parts of its territory were disputed during the 20 century  One of the oldest countries in the world  Shared a common language for the past century o Quebec  its current territory was finalized in the early 20 century  recent nationhood th  Before the mid-2thcentury  people identify themselves as French-Canadians or Canadian  After the mid-20 century  people identify themselves as Quebecois  members of the Quebec nation o The transition to greater national homogeneity is facilitated by various administrative instruments (e.g., census, representative politics, mass education)  Nation-making  the serialization or homogenization of individuals into largely constructed communities  Most national categories are the product of institutions and administrations  Very few nations have any solid claims to ancient histories as homogenous cultural entities o Nations are resilient  Several ideological currents of the past predicted that nations would disappear  Liberals hoped that a global, peaceful culture would emerge  Marxists thought that classes would replace nations as the predominant form of social and political identity  Commentators are claiming that globalization is eradicating national borders and that we are about to enter a post-national world  A number of new nations are emerging  A number of old nations are making new claims to autonomy  E.g., Aboriginals are positioning themselves as nations and demanding some measure of self-determination  E.g., resurgence of ethno-national identity after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 EVOLUTION TOWARD INDEPENDENCE? - Evolution toward independence  a slow, evolutionary development that necessarily ends in political independence o There is some truth to this view  Simple human groupings  large empires (Roman, Greek, British, French)  sovereign states  Many cultural and linguistic groups have not reached sovereignty because the full evolutionary process is still unfolding (e.g., Quebec, Scotland, Kurdistan) o History of Quebec  Emerged as Canada’s second-largest and sole majority-francophone province over the past 2.5 centuries  Conquered by the British in 1760  60,000 French colonists lived in New France  English-speaking immigrants from the US and the British Isles came to outnumber francophones in British North America  New provinces emerged east and west (mostly Anglophone)  Managed to survive and thrive under British institutions  Managed to preserve its culture and identity by the early 20 century  High birth rate  Strong religious institutions (Catholic Church)  Strong secular institutions (growing political institutions)  Montreal was emerging as one of the world’s great cities in the 1960s (e.g., Expo 67, the 1976 Olympic Games)  Quebec was undergoing massive social political change in the 1960s  Role of the church declined  Provincial government took a more active role (e.g., education, culture, health care)  Political parties promoting Quebec independence emerged and was successful at the polls o Nationalists have argued and struggled for independence over the past two centuries  LORD DURHAM  summarized the situation as “two nations warring in the bosom of a single state”  JULES-PAUL TARDIVEL  early proponent of Quebec independence, but failed to generate mu
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