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Continuity and Change in the Contemporary Canadian Feminist Movement

  • Brenda O'Neill (a1)

This article examines how the changing environment faced by and context within the Canadian feminist movement is reflected in the beliefs and strategies of recruits to the movement at a given point in time. The framework for the investigation is Whittier's generational approach (1997) that posits that different political generations—defined as cohorts of recruits who join a social movement during distinctive periods of protest—introduce change to its collective identity given the formative experiences faced by each generation. Using an original large sample data set, I provide evidence that the changes experienced by the Canadian feminist movement from the 1980s onwards are reflected in noticeable shifts in the collective identity and activist strategies of subsequent waves of feminist recruits. The findings suggest that further research into cohort recruitment and replacement is essential for understanding the forces at play in shaping the contemporary Canadian feminist movement.

Cet article examine comment l’environnement changeant auquel fait face le mouvement féministe canadien et le contexte dans lequel il évolue se reflètent dans les convictions et les stratégies des recrues au sein du mouvement à un moment donné. Le cadre de l’analyse est l’approche générationnelle de Whittier (1997), selon laquelle des générations politiques différentes – définies comme cohortes de recrues qui rejoignent un mouvement social à des périodes de protestation différentes – introduisent un changement dans son identité collective au vu des expériences formatrices vécues par chaque génération. En utilisant un vaste échantillon de données initiales, je fournis la preuve que les changements qu’a connus le mouvement féministe canadien depuis les années 1980 se traduisent par des évolutions perceptibles de l’identité collective et les stratégies activistes de vagues subséquentes de recrues féministes. Les constatations suggèrent que de plus amples recherches sur le recrutement et le remplacement des cohortes sont nécessaires pour comprendre les forces en présence dans la formation du mouvement féministe canadien contemporain.

Corresponding author
Department of Political Science, 2500 University Drive NW, University of Calgary, Calgary AB, T2N 1N4, email:
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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-political-science-revue-canadienne-de-science-politique
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