The Evolving Parameters of Quebec Nationalism

François Rocher

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This article focuses on how Canada’s French minority in Quebec developed a nationalist
discourse and used its provincial state to strengthen its economic and political status within the federation. It presents the parameters that define contemporary Quebec nationalism and its evolution over the past four decades. The first part of the article deals with nationalism during the ‘Quiet Revolution’ (1960-1966). The second part discusses the thesis that Quebec nationalism was in decline during the 1980s. This ‘retreat’ was explained by a reduced role for government and greater North American economic integration. The last part addresses the new role of the Quebec state that emerged in the 1990s, which favored the growth of the private sector and a reconfiguration of nationalism. The failure of two major constitutional negotiations (in 1990 and 1992) gave new life to the independence movement, which culminated with a second referendum on Quebec sovereignty in 1995. Overall, this article discusses the political forms of Quebec nationalism, the societal and political projects advanced by the Quebec government, and the federal government’s responses to Quebec nationalism.

Suggested bibliographic reference for this article:

Rocher, François. The Evolving Parameters of Quebec Nationalism. IJMS: International Journal on Multicultural Societies. 2002, vol. 4, no.1, pp. 74-96. UNESCO. ISSN 1817-4574.


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