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Ghosts in our corridors: Emotional experiences of participants in Québec’s general unlimited student strike campaigns (2005 - 2012)


Ghosts in our corridors: Emotional experiences of participants in Québec’s general unlimited student strike campaigns (2005 - 2012)

Hausfather, Nadia (2017) Ghosts in our corridors: Emotional experiences of participants in Québec’s general unlimited student strike campaigns (2005 - 2012). PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Hausfather_PhD_F2017.pdf - Accepted Version


In this dissertation, I elucidate the emotional experiences and trajectories of participants in general unlimited student strike campaigns in Quebec from 2005 to 2012. Contrary to my initial hypothesis that anger dominates striking emotions, I argue that, especially near the beginnings of these strikes, participants were able to transcend feelings of anxiety and uncertainty -to be 'vulnerable'- thanks in part to the existential or spiritual ‘high’ of collective-oriented emotions heightened by deliberative decision-making and a sense of making history. As these strikes continued, I illustrate how such 'positive' experiences were intertwined with or overwhelmed by more 'negative' emotions, mediated by power and interpersonal dynamics, creating a confusing array of emotions that were thus difficult to process. The sense of intensity and urgency of these student strikes amplified the more 'negative' emotions, in part because of insufficient time for 'emotional reflexivity' to deal with the resulting ambivalence and disappointed expectations from their existential collective-oriented emotional experiences -what I term the dialectics of vulnerability. I point to how such dialectics were in turn coloured by interviewees' particular life stories as well as by the location that formed the basis of their experience, the educational institution. Finally, I illustrate how despite the inevitable emotional ‘lows’ that these strikes entailed, and despite what I term the 'masculine' emotional habitus of the Quebec student movement more generally, many participants emerged from the strike with a more collective-oriented spirit and set of values, which I suggest could be considered the seeds of new ‘structures of feeling’ -or of a collective sense of existential meaning. The latter played a part in contributing to continued activism for some, especially in the case of the strikes that were general and unlimited (2005, 2012). Continued activism was also mediated by the degree of participants' involvement in the strike and the interpersonal support from individuals and groups with opportunities for emotional reflexivity to cushion and transform vulnerability -thus pointing to the need for diverse collective possibilities to address difficult emotions and mourning within this province's student movement as well as other syndicalist and social movements.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Hausfather, Nadia
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:18 September 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Warren, Jean-Philippe and Lehrer, Erica and High, Steven
Keywords:emotion, feeling, student, strike, movement, emotional experience, democracy, union, Quebec, 2005, 2007, 2012, Québec, grève, étudiant, étudiante, émotion, sentiment, expérience émotive, mouvement, syndical, démocracie, Printemps érable, Maple Spring, Concordia, university, CEGEP, secondaire, high school
ID Code:983066
Deposited On:08 Nov 2017 21:44
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:56
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