Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Multifaceted Impacts of Educational Institutionalization–Power Constellations and Social Positioning During the Conquest of Quebec
Susanne Timm

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


Education offers one instrument to change, stabilize and institutionalize power relations, especially during the settlement of the Europeans in Canada. At least until the sixties of the twentieth century education and its different institutional settings were introduced as means for social positioning by offering or denying social positions.

The historical comparison among three case studies within one area reflect, that the pathways of educational institutionalization and its precursor could have different impacts according to the respective political, social, economic and even climatic conditions. Taking into account the contrasting situations educational institutions functioned as means of colonizing as they could offer opportunities for autonomy within one socio-historical context at different moments. While some education institutions were established, which smash preceding social structures without offering explicitly new spaces of participation, others offered instruments for the creation and use of new spaces of societal participation by incorporating them in prior social orders. And vice versa: elite institutions, once the proud and jewel of the conquering French people showed their backside afterwards, when the French speaking majority was captured by their narrow horizon and marginalized during the modernization of Quebec.

The three case studies

1. Père Jean-Baptiste de La Brosse worked on textualization of the languages of the Montagnais, small native groups in the middle of Quebec during the 18th century. For alphabetization purpose and his teaching activities he printed the first books in Quebec at all, but not in French, he produced the books in the language of the Montagnais people. One lasting impact of his activities was reported more than hundred years later: Than the share of alphabetized people among the Montagnais had been higher as within the French speaking majority: Despite their social marginalized position the Montagnais realized to take advantage of pre-forms of educational institutionalization within a colonizing framework. (Tremblay 1968, Hébert 1980, Hébert 1988)

2. Schooling for Inuit children shows a different pathway. Remarkable disadvantages are seen until the present, which can be affiliated – among others – to the liquidation of social networks in former times by the institutional configuration of education. Until the 60s of the twentieth century children were forced into residential schools far away from their family and social relations. (McGregor 2010, Vick-Westgate 2002, Statistics Canada 2015)

3. Quite the opposite the collèges classiques were intended. They offered secondary education at a high level to the elite descendants of the French speaking community. While their institutional position didn’t change over hundreds of years they turned out to be an considerable barrier for the French community to participate in the upcoming of Quebec after the Second World War. (Audet 1971, Dufour 1997, Milner 1987)

The case studies demonstrate that colonizing and emancipating impacts of educational institutions differ not only in the same territory for different groups but also for the same institution during different periods. Depending on dynamics within their framework it could even occur that institutions which ensured positions in the center of power turn into the opposite, in educational institutions of marginalization.