Accepted Paper:

Manitoba-Montréal : are we home?   

Authors:

Gabrielle Breton-Carbonneau (Ontario Institue for Studies in Education )
Monica Heller (University of Toronto)

Paper short abstract:

The ambivalent relationships of young Franco-Manitobans to Manitoba and Montréal highlight tensions between both as sources of francophone legitimacy. This sends people across the continent, through complex networks, signalling ambivalences linked to settler colonialism and minority ethnonationalism.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores the ambivalent relationships of young educated Franco-Manitobans to Manitoba and Montréal, manifested in geographical mobility back and forth between the two, with side trips around the world. It is based on recent ethnographic work in Manitoba and interviews with young Franco-Manitobans in Montréal who have moved there, either temporarily or more permanently, as well as with their friends and members of their families in Manitoba.

The ambivalence results from a tension between the two spaces as sources of francophone legitimacy. Montréal has long been understood as the French Canadian metropole, but it is also the cultural capital of a Quebec that devalues the rest of francophone North America. Manitoba has long been understood as the capital of the francophone West, but it is also a space dominated by English-speakers.

Thus, relocating to Québec is fraught in two ways. On the one hand lies the risk of betraying the Franco-Manitoban community, understood to require solidarity in the constant struggle against the dominance of English and of English-speakers, as well as, more recently, for reconciliation with French-speaking Métis. On the other hand lies the risk of not being accepted by francophone Québécois as fully legitimate French Canadians. The resulting ambivalence sends people back and forth across the continent, and into and out of francophone, anglophone and complex plural transnational and cosmopolitan networks. These tensions, we argue, signal broader contemporary ambivalences linked to settler colonialism and minority ethnonationalism.

Panel RM-LL07
Un Canadien errant: moorings, mobilities and transformative restructurations of francophone Canada [LingAnthLing panel]