Liberalism and Hegemony

Liberalism and Hegemony: Debating the Canadian Liberal Revolution

Jean-François Constant
Michel Ducharme
Copyright Date: 2009
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  • Book Info
    Liberalism and Hegemony
    Book Description:

    The essays collected here explore the possibilities and limits presented by "The Liberal Order Framework" for various segments of Canadian history, and within them, the paramount influence of liberalism throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is debated in various contexts.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8848-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction: A Project of Rule Called Canada – The Liberal Order Framework and Historical Practice (pp. 3-32)

    In 2000 Ian McKay published a ground-breaking article in theCanadian Historical Reviewentitled ‘The Liberal Order Framework: A Prospectus for a Reconnaissance of Canadian History.’² Following other historians, McKay suggests that Canadian history is currently going through a crisis. This crisis is not linked to any fundamental weakness in Canadian historiography, nor to a profound deficiency in the various scholarly approaches privileged by researchers working today. In fact, quite the opposite is true; it is actually the new-found richness and diversity of contemporary Canadian historiography that represents a real challenge within the discipline. The development of social and then...

  5. ‘The Liberal Order Framework: A Prospectus for a Reconnaissance of Canadian History’ reproduction of Canadian Historical Review 81 (2000): 617–45 (pp. 33-63)

    The present world of Canadian historians is at once proliferous and exhilarating, deprived and crisis-ridden. Proliferous: few humans could possibly absorb the yearly output of monographs, articles, theses, papers, and books through which hundreds of scholars pay homage to the ideals of detailed archival research, monographic thoroughness, and analytical objectivity. An ever-expanding literature, increasingly based on the specialized languages of social science and cultural studies, much of it written in the other official language, often hidden away in unpublished studies, and now ranging across many 'disciplines' and practices other than academic history, defies the most disciplined of readers. Exhilarating: one...

  6. In Hope and Fear: Intellectual History, Liberalism, and the Liberal Order Framework (pp. 64-97)

    I first read Ian McKay’s ‘The Liberal Order Framework’ while preparing a job talk – a reconnaissance, if you will, of my past, current, and future research. My reaction was schizophrenic. On the one hand, the article took seriously the threats of irrelevance and fragmentation that many professional historians of Canada felt while moving beyond ineffectual hand-wringing and the stale binaries of political versus social history and nation versus ‘limited’ identities. On the other hand, the article made it clear that someone about to interview me – the job was at Queen’s – had thought more seriously and creatively about my own period...

  7. Canada as Counter-Revolution: The Loyalist Order Framework in Canadian History, 1750–1840 (pp. 98-146)

    As the ‘Liberal Order’ symposium demonstrated, chronology matters. We assembled at McGill University in March 2006 to discuss how Ian McKay’s article has established a new paradigm for Canadian historians, and our panels progressed chronologically from the eighteenth century to the twentieth century. This is, of course, how our minds are supposed to work: as Kant explained, we are hardwired to think in terms of time, space, and cause. Following in this tradition, I had planned to present a conventional paper on how to relate the early modern period to the liberal order framework. I was going to contribute to...

  8. Rights Talk and the Liberal Order Framework (pp. 147-175)

    Ian McKay’s article on the history of the liberal order in Canada has been attracting a great deal of attention since it appeared late in 2000.² It is an exciting article: it thinks big and suggests ways of pulling together a great deal of eclectic material in something like a master narrative, but one innocent of the Whiggish nationalist teleologies that have characterized most grand narratives in Canadian history. Students find it useful and provocative. It promises to revitalize political history in Canada and, in eschewing bloodless objectivity, to provoke exciting debates. In the spirit of praise, rather than criticism,...

  9. After ‘Canada’: Liberalisms, Social Theory, and Historical Analysis (pp. 176-200)

    Ian McKay’s generally good-natured attempt to propose a ‘liberal order framework’ for a new ‘reconnaissance’ of Canadian history is striking for its breadth of coverage of the historical literature, for its attempt to integrate a wide range of class-, gender-, and race-focused articles and monographs in a Gramscian analytic framework, and particularly for its welcome encouragement for historians to move beyond the ‘“top/bottom” binarism’ that, he rightly remarks, ‘has condemned so much historiographical debate in Canada to a wearisome and fractious sterility.’¹ McKay proposes to treat ‘Canada’ not as a given entity with essential characteristics, but as the contested result...

  10. The Municipal Territory: A Product of the Liberal Order? (pp. 201-220)

    These, among others, were the bitter words chosen by Lord Sydenham, in September 1840, to voice his profound disappointment to Colonial Secretary John Russell upon learning that the act recently adopted to unite the two Canadas contained no provision for the establishment of a municipal system, a measure he had himself recommended. Given his personal involvement in the matter, Sydenham was especially disconcerted by the British authorities’ assent to the law. For while the idea of establishing a municipal regime, earlier put forth in Lord Durham’s report, was not taken up by the British government in 1840, its establishment had...

  11. The Nature of the Liberal Order: State Formation, Conservation, and the Government of Non-Humans in Canada (pp. 221-245)

    In its attention to the processes of subjectification of the liberal ideology, Ian McKay’s liberal order framework focuses the historian’s gaze upon the human individual.¹ On the peripheries of that discerning view is the bio-geophysical environment, along with the biotic and abiotic elements that populate it, posed as seemingly indiscernible components of a static backdrop before which the constitution of the liberal subject has unfolded. This ontological posture eschews the findings in the humanities and social sciences that recognize the participation of non-humans in the construction of cultural and artifactual sets of human societies.²

    Environmental history has been at the...

  12. Missing Canadians: Reclaiming the A-Liberal Past (pp. 246-273)

    Like Jerry Bannister, who decided not to argue in his essay in this collection that ‘the liberal order carries within it an implicit teleology that constrains historians to study the ... past only insofar as it contributes to the eventual formation of the Canadian liberal project,’ I too am going to resist this ‘cranky complaint.’¹ Unlike Professor Bannister, however, I will resist it because I believe that one of the most valuable contributions of the Liberal Order Framework as a way of understanding Canadian history may turn out to be its potential to disrupt and de-naturalize that persistent master narrative...

  13. Women, Racialized People, and the Making of the Liberal Order in Northern North America (pp. 274-297)

    Ian McKay’s liberal order framework offers something that historians sorely need – a way to think about the state outside of the existing conventions of English Canadian historiography. Most notably, it provides a vantage point that sidesteps the presumed and radically unhelpful dichotomy between social and political history. McKay is not the first to chart this course – the contributors to Ian Radforth and Allan Greer’s collectionColonial Leviathan, Bruce Curtis’sThe Politics of Population, and Jean-Marie Fecteau’sUn nouvel ordre des chosesall query the gap between the allegedly political and the allegedly social.² And much of what passes as new...

  14. A Persistent Antagonism: First Nations and the Liberal Order (pp. 298-321)

    Ian McKay’s reconnaissance of the liberal order framework clearly offers a useful perspective on many aspects of Canadian history. The concept has some obvious utility for explaining the ways that Canadian governments have handled Aboriginal peoples and also, more generally, Aboriginal experiences under colonialism as practised in Canada. Conversely, the investigation of First Nations experience has something relevant to offer liberal order analysis, given McKay’s emphasis on studying the ways that opposition reshaped liberalism into a distinctly Canadian form. Though First Nations people have lost and suffered a great deal in their interactions with Canada and its predecessor colonies, they...

  15. ‘Variants of Liberalism’ and the Liberal Order Framework in British Columbia (pp. 322-346)

    Ian McKay’s argument that a ‘reconnaissance’ of Canada’s ‘liberal order’ offers a fruitful way to explore Canadian history has generated considerable interest among scholars, and was the subject of a one-day symposium at McGill University in March 2006. First developed in the December 2000 issue of theCanadian Historical Review,² McKay’s thesis presents both a provocative framework for understanding the political and institutional development of Canada – what he calls a historically specific liberal project of rule – and a strategy for exploring Canadian history as a process of governance rather than as a story of events, people, or periods. Especially exciting...

  16. Canada as a Long Liberal Revolution: On Writing the History of Actually Existing Canadian Liberalisms, 1840s–1940s (pp. 347-452)

    Why does Canada exist and what does it mean? It is a question that has exercised many fine scholarly minds for generations. Many estimable figures of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries would have looked to providence and visualized Canada as ‘God’s Dominion,’ the expansive and civilizing manifestation of Britishness and Protestantism (or, in the major rival formulation, of themission civilisatriceof Frenchness and Catholicism). More secular scholars, particularly in the interwar period, would look to the natural world, hoping to find, in the patterns of coastlines and fishing banks, rivers and rocks, trade routes and staple trades, extra-historical...

  17. Contributors (pp. 453-456)
  18. Index (pp. 457-473)

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