Mobilizations, Protests, and Engagements: Canadian Perspectives on Social Movements.
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
John Stanley is a policy advisor at the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and
A 2007 conference held at Mount Allison University was the origin for this collection of essays. While the papers have been revised for publication, they represent a wide variety of approaches. The introduction points to the centrality of the state, but generally the essays demonstrate that government reacted to movements that it unwittingly set off.
The book’s first section looks at theoretical and structural perspectives, and reveals the social sciences’ most prominent weaknesses through essays that either belabour the obvious or complicate the simple. The essay on indigenous post-secondary education issues is likely to astound with its obliviousness to the need for accountability for funding, regardless of the source.
However, the second section presents case studies that will be of interest not only to social scientists, but also to historians of Canada. The writers deal with fascinating topics: a Communist municipal government in Alberta during the 1930s, the English-Canadian student movement in the 1960s, the fight for French immersion in New Brunswick in the 1970s, and the success of the Confederation of Regions party in New Brunswick. As one can see, the case studies deal not only with movements of the left, but also of the right and encompass not only working people, but also the middle class.
The final section is comprised of three essays: a queer activist writes on the tactics used in the struggle for equal marriage for same-sex couples; a New Brunswick trade unionist fights Trudeau’s wage controls in 1975–6; and a Canadian student leader describes the 1995 National Day of Strike and Action, with interesting insights into how the Quebec student movement was aligned with the English-Canadian student movement on that occasion. Unlike the previous two sections, these essays are primary source material for future researchers.
The quality of the essays is generally high and the footnotes reveal sound research. The collection gives numerous demonstrations of how Canada engages and responds to social movements. This volume will be of interest to those not only interested in Canadian governance, but also to those following the shape — and reshaping — of Canadian society and its history.