Quebec Nationalism: the Quest for Identity
Summary written by: Kathy Ottoman, Conflict Research Consortium
Citation: Quebec Nationalism: the Quest for Identity", in Interaction, 1992, vol. 4 (3), pg.12.
This article summarizes a discussion about identity and nationalism in Quebec society. Two perspectives are offered from a French speaking person in Quebec, Denise Helly, and an English speaking person, Don Taylor, from Quebec as well. Both Taylor and Helly acknowledge a strong connection between nationalism and identity-for both English and French speakers. Taylor explains the Anglophones feel threatened within Quebec as much as the Quebecois do within Canada. Both discuss the feelings of not being able to express one's own identity within their hometowns, while separately they explore how identity is shaped by laws and surrounding cultural practices.
Helly's discussion also addresses the concept of power as a means of expressing identity. She notes that when a party has political or economic power, they are able to more freely express their identity and be assured of cultural survival (which to Francophones, primarily means being able to speak their own language).
Taylor addresses the issue that when the concept of multiculturalism was introduced in the 1970's, both Francophones and Anglophones felt threatened. Francophones felt that they would now be considered just "one more little group," while Anglophones thought multiculturalism caused them to be "treated as one of a number of minorities." Actions since then are a result of both groups acting out of fear that their cultural experience and identity may be erased. Taylor concludes that in it's search for national identity, Quebec cannot ignore the fact that others live within its boarders as well.