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Constructing the nation through multiculturalism, language and gender : an extended case study of state regulation and community resistance



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This dissertation examines three main types of programs for minority language education: school board, university, and community-sponsored heritage language programs, and multicultural groups in Prairieville. It analyzes findings within a reformulated political economy framework of Canadian nationalism that attends to micro-level regulation and resistance, and gender, race, and class dynamics. It raises questions of how, and why, the state regulates minority language and cultural practices through multicultural policies and how community-based minority groups respond. Multicultural policies strategically regulate minority language and cultural practices to ensure that they are not threats to forming hegemonic citizen identities and nationalism. However, the state must respond to multiple demands for other uses of minority languages including resistance by racialized and ethnic minority women and community-based groups; changing global economic conditions; and other historically emerging forces. Therefore, the state regulates minority language and cultural transmission through structurally selective policies. The study found that subordinated groups respond with a number of tactics of resistance such as using state multicultural resources to build and maintain other bases for individual and collective identities. Using Burawoy's (1991) extended case method, two modes of state regulation were found. Constitutive modes construct heritage language education as a distinct field of practice by establishing and maintaining institutional boundaries among different types of language education programs; structuring a hierarchy of community-based organizations and language groups; positioning bodies and subject positions across space, time, and place; and limiting domains of language use. Exclusionary modes regulate through legislative and procedural restrictions; differentiating women's cultural work into paid and volunteer roles; and delimiting, classifying, and naming minority language and cultural practices for different policy treatments. A review of historical literature revealed continuity in strategies, tactics, procedures and processes of state regulation. Minority individuals and groups participate in, but also contest multicultural regulation and, over time, expand the limits of Canadian nationalism. An analysis of "hidden" resistance identified several everyday practices of resistance such as collaboration, negotiation, making do, surviving, watching the line, and tactical self-positioning of subjectivity. Racial and ethnic minority women's cultural labor, as those primarily responsible for forming individual subjectivities, are central to strategies of regulation and resistance.





Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)







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