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Canada'S Ethnic Dilemma: Primordial Ethnonationalism In Quebec


Canada'S Ethnic Dilemma: Primordial Ethnonationalism In Quebec



The seeming pervasiveness of secessionist movements around the world challenges conventional explanations of world politics at the end of the twentieth century. Indeed, many assumptions of Cold War politics are currently being repackaged in systemic level theories that suggest a rational, self-interested concept of political behavior of states and states' elites. Preoccupation with power capabilities at the system level systematically diverts attention from subnational political organizations. This is why ethnonationalism challenges conventional wisdom about the role of states and states' elites in world politics. Increasingly we are presented with examples of individuals and groups aliging their political behavior with that of their ethnic kin, even if they do not represent their class interests (Dogan and Pelassy 1990:63).

In response to these trends, other analysts have offered an alternative view of ethnicity, one that stresses the concept as an internal expression of a basic group identity that persists through change, passed down from one generation to the next, binding the individual to a larger collectivity on the basis of their ineffable affective significance (Isaacs 1975). If instrumentalist arguments can be said to rely on a predominantly rational actor approach of the grievances that are supposed to generate ethnic solidarity, primordialism focuses on the psychological forces of ethnonationalism.

Ethnic-based consciousness is far stronger than that created by political or economic interests-for example, in the case of Quebec, the preservation of the French-Canadian culture.



Publication Date





Westport, CT


Ethnic relations, Canada, 1945, Foreign relations, History, Autonomy and independence movements, Secession, Québec (Province), World politics, Forecasting


Comparative Politics | History | Political Science

Canada'S Ethnic Dilemma: Primordial Ethnonationalism In Quebec