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Multiculturalism, interculturalism, and the effects of a weak ethnos

Canadian Diversity, 2012


Victor Armony, « Multiculturalism, interculturalism, and the effects of a weak ethnos », Canadian Diversity, Vol. 9, no 2, 2012.

Abstract

A model of integration is a vastly complex creature that interweaves political, legislative, and administrative processes, but it
also boils down to a relatively coherent conceptual core. Canada’s model of integration includes norms, policies, and practices
that are quite standard fare internationally (at least among Western democracies), but it is uniquely framed by a “multicultural”
self-definition. Canada stands out as a particular case among liberal nation-states : not only is its ethnos distinctly weak, for
historical reasons, but its leadership and population have largely embraced the idea of civic integration. Ironically, in spite of
Quebec’s strong nationalist streak, this province also has a weak ethnos, because the French Quebecois’ claim to peoplehood is
effectively contested. This helps to understand why there is no significant rift between Canada’s multiculturalism and Quebec’s
interculturalism, either in principle or in practice, otherwise than in a matter of degree and ideological sensibilities.

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