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Du silence à l’affirmation : Women Making History in Point St. Charles.

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Du silence à l’affirmation : Women Making History in Point St. Charles.

Kruzynski, Anna (2004) Du silence à l’affirmation : Women Making History in Point St. Charles. PhD thesis, McGill University.

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Abstract

Women made, and continue to make history in Point St. Charles, and in doing so, transform selves, groups and community.
Building on the literature on class and gender in community organising, read through the conceptual lens of “translocational positionality” (Anthias, 2002a), I tell a story of the journeys of a group of ten women activists through four decades of neighbourhood organising. I show that although all the women were first involved in citizens’ committees around practical needs such as housing, welfare, urban renewal and education, most of them, stimulated by feminist agitators in their midst, came to new awareness about gender inequalities, to new and deepening analyses, and to individual and collective actions around strategic gender needs. Part and parcel of this spiral of change (Nadeau, 1996) were the tensions that emerged with their families, friends and neighbours, and even with the agitators themselves. Out of these tensions came transformations at the macro level – community, public opinion and government, at the meso level – organisational structures and cultures, and at the micro level – family and selves.
Next I do a metanarrative on the methodology that underlies the project upon which my thesis is based, one that borrows from feminist community organising practice (Gutiérrez & Lewis, 1994) to deal with the many ethical dilemmas inherent to feminist life history methodology (Geiger, 1990). In line with the notion of “translocational imaginings in dialogue”, the project was conceptualised to pre-figure power-with (Starhawk, 1987) in order to construct narratives of belonging that break with processes of differentiation and stratification. The project is about doing community history with the people who make that history. Because of this, when tensions emerged around power relations, instead of paralysis, individual, interpersonal and collective transformations emerged.
Through this work, I am not only releasing new voices into the collective narrative, but I am also contributing to debates on life history methodology. And, my thesis, and the other historical products that will emerge from this project, will enable organisers and activists to learn from the past, and will, hopefully, entice younger people to get involved in community activism.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > School of Community and Public Affairs
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Kruzynski, Anna
Institution:McGill University
Program:School of Social Work
Date:2004
ID Code:6529
Deposited By:ANNA KRUZYNSKI
Deposited On:08 Mar 2010 13:26
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 18:39
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