Ethnic and Linguistic Categories in Quebec: Counting to Survive

Victor Piché, forthcoming in Simon, Patrick, Piché, Victor & Gagnon, Amélie (eds), Accounting for Ethnic and Racial Diversity : the Challenge of Enumeration, IMISCOE-Amsterdam University Press.
17 June, 2010

For some time, statistical categories emanating from official data-producing agencies have been analyzed within their underlying ideological and historical contexts. In the introductory chapter, we have suggested a typology for the political use of ethnic categories. The case at hand – that of Quebec through the history of its ethnic and linguistic relationships in the Canadian context – illustrates the political and ideological role of ethnicity and language statistics in power relationships and survival strategies, especially with regards to the French-speaking minority group. The Canada/Quebec example is also interesting because it demonstrates that, within the same country, the use of these statistics may vary from one group to another. If, in the Canadian multicultural context, ethnicity-related census categories are currently legitimized by anti-discriminatory programmes, they also enable Francophone Quebecers to monitor the evolution of the use of the French language – a monitoring scheme whose interpretations sometimes differ widely but which remains highly dependent on census data availability.

Ethnic and Linguistic Categories in Quebec – Counting to Survive

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