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The politics of multiculturalism reform in Canada: Institutions, ideas and public agendas

Posted on:2007-07-30Degree:Ph.DType:Thesis
University:Universite de Montreal (Canada)Candidate:Prosperi, PaoloFull Text:PDF
GTID:2446390005468868Subject:Political science
This thesis explores the dynamics of policy reform and the management of ethnocultural diversity in Canada. It asks how changes to the Government of Canada's multiculturalism program can be understood throughout periods of institutional reform and program rationalisation. In offering an answer, this thesis argues that public institutions serve as a vehicle for adjusting the terms of integration as well as contributing to our understanding of citizenship. This perspective pays particular attention to the role of ideas as an important determinant in policy making. At the same time, it highlights the institutional setting of Canadian politics that mediates conflicting interests and structures the flow of ideas. As such, rather than treating ideas and interests as separate and unrelated variables, this thesis explores how the two interact within an institutional context to explain both policy change and continuity.;Our analysis is primarily policy centred, looking at the relationship between state and society to grasp the historical and organisational factors that shape policy decisions. In our examination of multiculturalism we identify three periods of policy change: the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s. In each of these decades the debates and struggles in the Canadian polity resulted in significant institutional adjustments and practices. These events are analyzed as instances of policy learning, wherein the state generated new understanding of problems and mobilized resources for administration. Across three decades of change, we find substantial continuity in the central role played by state actors in establishing the terms of ethnocultural integration. However, by the mid 1980s the consensus among many of these same state actors had broken down. In its place, questions arose about the potentially destabilizing demands for ethnocultural and representation rights in multinational societies. We find these concerns to have served as vital adjuncts in the wider debate over state support for cultural diversity. By the 1990s, sufficient intellectual consensus in the form of neo-liberalism coupled with the growing criticism towards multiculturalism as a consequence of the national unity debate guided state action towards a new policy model.;Keywords. multiculturalism; ethnocultural diversity; citizenship; neo-liberalism; national unity; historical-institutionalism...
Keywords/Search Tags:Policy, Multiculturalism, Reform, Ethnocultural, State, Ideas, Diversity, Institutional
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