Responses to ethnic nationalism in multicultural societies: a political demographic approach

David Pettinicchio, University of Oxford
Maria Sironi, University of Oxford

In the 1970s, approximately twenty percent of Quebec’s Anglophone population out-migrated from the province largely as a response to ethno-nationalist economic policies. While having positive economic effects for highly-educated professional Francophones, these policies increased the costs for highly-educated, professional English-speakers of remaining in Quebec. Quebec ethnic nationalism is an important example of the ways in which the breakdown in the cultural division of labor led to important economic consequences shaping decisions to leave the province. But Quebec is a multicultural society embedded in a broader context of Canadian multiculturalism. What of ethnic minority groups who are neither Francophone nor Anglophone? How did they respond to Quebec nationalism? Bystanders – those who are not directly implicated in ethnic conflict – are typically ignored in studies of ethnic nationalism particularly because most examples of nationalism are either not focused on multicultural societies or ignore the presence of other ethnic groups. Quebec ethnic nationalism is an ideal case for testing theories that link ethnic nationalism to non-violent reactions to nationalism like migration. In this paper, we examine the effects of ethnic nationalism on Allophones (non-Francophones or Anglophones whose mother tongue is neither French nor English). There are two possible scenarios when it comes to explaining migration patterns of Allophone “bystanders.” The first possibility is that their patterns are completely unrelated to those of Anglophones and Francophones. The second scenario is one where ethnic minority groups mostly identifying with (or who have integrated into) the English-speaking community (such as Italians and Greeks) will experience similar migration patterns as Anglophones. Our paper contributes to the growing interest in political and social demography not only because it seeks to link theories of migration to political and sociological theories of nationalism, but also because it uses demographic methods (life tables survival rates) to test these theories.

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Presented in Session 94: Policy settings and partnership dynamics among immigrants