Committing Canadian Sociology: Developing a Canadian Sociology and a Sociology of Canada Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • This paper is a slightly revised version of the author's "Outstanding Career Award Lecture" presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Sociological Association in Victoria, British Columbia on June 6, 2013. The paper distinguishes between Canadian Sociology and the Sociology of Canada. The former involves the explanatory stance that one takes to understanding Canada. The latter addresses the significant social dimensions that underlie Canadian social organization, culture, and behavior. I make a case for a Canadian Sociology that focuses on the unique features of Canadian society rather than adopting a comparative perspective. I also argue that there is a continuing need within the Sociology of Canada to address the issues of staples development. However, I argue that "new" staples analysis must have a directional change from that of the past, in that social processes now largely determine the pattern of staples development. Moreover, new staples analysis must include issues that were never part of earlier staples analysis, such as issues of environmental impacts and of staples depletion under conditions, such as climate change. The paper concludes by analyzing four factors that provide the dominant social contexts for analyzing modern staples development: (1) the rise of neoliberal government, (2) the implementation of globalization and its social consequences, (3) the assumption of aboriginal rights and entitlement, and (4) the rise of environmentalism. These factors were generally not considered in earlier staples approaches. They are critical to understanding the role of staples development and its impact on Canada in the present time.

publication date

  • May 2014