Nov 082013
Schedule and Location: Wednesday, May 28 10:45am-12:15pm Concordia Seminary

Primary Session Category: Canadian Sociology
Session Code: CaSo2
Session Format: Panel Discussion

Session Description: This event is to address  how researchers in the area of Anti- Racism and Indigenous knowledge have to negotiate within Neo liberal discourse and organization culture. This panel of 4 scholars who have addressed these issues in their research and who collectively have data will provide theoretical responses  as well as a well deserved critique to the questions raised. Theoretical reflections on race, gender, identity and how they intersect with Multiculturalism, Social Justice, Indigenous rights within  Neo Liberal  Ideologies in the academy.

The presentations  on their current research in the area of Anti Racism as well as how Indigenous knowledges in curriculum (in primarily Aboriginal/Inuit areas) as effected by Neo liberal Ideologies. This will be followed by an open discussion around matters that could include how Anti Racism and Indigenous knowledges is discussed today in the context of Neo liberal Ideologies advanced in an authentic set of Directions that do not implicate normative hegemonic perspectives that have become cliches and slogans used by well disguised (neo) liberals especially in the academy.

Session Organizers and Panelists:
Merle Jacobs, York University, Equity Studies,

Neoliberal governance of cultural identity

Work environments are not stand-alone entities, but, are created out of various policy decisions which have an effect on the environment. In the selling of diversity within a Multicultural framework, employment within the health care system suggest the confirmation of discrimination between ethnic group with racism continuing as a characteristic of unequal power relationships. To debate this requires a construction of Canadian Multiculturalism not as a social contract but as neoliberal governance of cultural identity and difference. The paper will consider ethnic group hierarchies and competitive advantage within Canada and within the health care system. The discussion is intended as a wide-ranging, comparative synthesis of contemporary trends in Canada within a global context.

Tania Das Gupta, York University, Equity Studies

Doing Anti-racism and Equity Work in the Academy – reflections, challenges, strategies in neo-liberal times

Racism and colonialism are alive and kicking, but educational programs to understand and deconstruct them may not be. Having been involved in developing, teaching, researching and advising students on a variety of equity-related courses and programs (including anti-racism) over the last two and a half decades, the author will reflect on this area of work in the academy. Neo-liberal agendas become apparent in the over-emphasis on enrollments and the subsequent discourses of marketability and employability. Student applicants enquire about “what kinds of jobs will they get when they graduate? Is there an internship program here?” How do equity, anti-racism, Indigeneity programs fare within this climate?  What are some strategies for survival? These questions will be explored with references to concrete examples from the author’s experience.

Linda Muzzin, OISE/ University of Toronto, Theory & Policy Studies in Education

Contradictions between Indigenous Knowledges and Industrial Development in the North

In a study of public colleges that included colleges in remote parts of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec, it was discovered  that several colleges have made it their goal to enshrine indigenous knowledges in their curriculum in areas where there are substantial Aboriginal populations. While the commitment of these colleges is firm and sustained, several challenges loom. I will talk about four contradictions: 1)  between the idea of Indigenous self determination and the training of Aboriginal peoples for low-level trades as part of  energy industrial megaprojects in the north which streams them into relations of exploitation with these industries; 2) between the sustainability philosophy and sacredness of land in indigenous knowledges and the extractive and otherwise environmentally exploitative approach of these industries for which Aboriginal youth are being trained; and 3) between the material situation of Aboriginal faculty and their students embedded in government-controlled educational institutions struggling for livelihood, funding and program continuity; 4) between media coverage of these issues and the knowledge and attitudes of non-Aboriginals college administration and faculty in the south.

L.A Visano, York University, Social Science

Logic of multiculturalismas  rationalized  neoliberalism.
 Multiculturalism, asa legal instrument of governmental biopolitics,  narrates  “rationally” the vagaries of  citizenship and  civic responsibility. Critical Multiculturalism Studies exposes the coated and coded  language of multiculturalism  as evidence of  pernicious human rights violations. This aim of this study is threefold: first, to provide the conceptual tools necessary to understand the critical multicultural studies; to demonstrate empirically the impact of culture (ideologies) in the control (law); and,  to present classic and contemporary debates regarding the insidiously incremental regulation of  “newcomers”.  Moving beyond common sense and canonical interpretations of  multiculturalism ,usually based on manipulated statistics and biased media accounts, the study proffers critically a set of perspectival and substantive materials that  reconceptualize  the neoliberal mantra of efficiency, cost effectiveness and instrumental rationality. Both the servitude to  law  and the  certitude of rights contribute todangerous insecurities. Embedded in the governing of mentalities, the  relationality of   control is leveraged / brokered in order to institutionalize a calculated compliance, if not a consuming complacency within a culture that valorizes the  secure servitude of  insecure certitude. As Habermas (1974) indicates, the meanings and symbols of the dominant ideology prevent critical thinking by penetrating social processes, language and individual consciousness. But, as a sophisticated means of domination, the dominant ideology succeeds in creating processes of self subordination. Consent and generic loyalty to the Canadian   values are secured by the diffusion and popularization of dominant cultural views. This prevailing consciousness is internalized and becomes part of a”common sense”. The power of normalization through “disciplinary apparatuses” produces docile, productive, hard-working, loyal conformists – people who are ‘normal’  and indeed hyphenated!


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