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The Paix des Braves agreement of 2002 : an analysis of Cree responses

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The Paix des Braves agreement of 2002 : an analysis of Cree responses

Oblin, George (2007) The Paix des Braves agreement of 2002 : an analysis of Cree responses. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The original contribution of this thesis is the juxtaposition of postmodernist notions with Cree societal issues, an approach that offers a new perspective on contemporary Cree reality and opens up a broader discursive space within which to consider the challenges the Cree are facing. This case study of Cree responses to the Paix des Braves Agreement of 2002 provides material evidence for a qualitative, contextual, genealogical analysis of existing social and communicative practices, including discursive practice, competing ideologies and organisation and power. Various social practices constitute what is conceptualised as communication. In order to understand communication from this perspective, it is important to focus on such practices. There are communicative aspects to matters of social organisation, leadership and decision-making, and values and ethics. Since all these practices have been undergoing rapid change for the Cree of northern Quebec, especially in the last few decades, the people are struggling to position themselves within this new reality and find a way to articulate it. The Agreement considered in this thesis is one reached between the government of Quebec and the political leadership of the Cree of James Bay, northern Quebec on major developmental issues. Its touted benefits were recognition of Cree interests over all the Cree territory and economic benefits totalling approximately $3.5 billion for the fifty-year duration of the Agreement. Opposition to the Agreement was based on perceived lack of consultation, haste and secrecy in signing, and probably foremost, the sense some had that their leaders had sacrificed the land for economic gain. The purpose of this thesis is not to favour any discourse on the issues pertaining to the Paix des Braves but to attempt to understand the conditions of their emergence. These conditions include a long-held tradition of decision-making through consensus, on the one hand, and external pressures from governments and industries to align Cree modes of governance and functioning with mainstream ones, on the other. Cree responses have been mixed and often based on totalising and essentialist notions, such as with regard to what it means to be Cree or pertaining to progress and development. Employing a genealogical approach implies accounting for social practices and meanings without conceptualising the subject in a transcendental or essentialist way. It also entails tracing how norms that are often assumed and taken for granted within a particular social context are linked to regulative rationality. By focusing on the social construction of such notions it is hoped that a better understanding will result and that possibilities of action for the Cree will emerge.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Oblin, George
Pagination:xvii, 322 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Communication Studies
Date:2007
Thesis Supervisor(s):Roth, Lorna
ID Code:975819
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:15
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:41
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