2021 Best Student Paper Award Recipient

This year’s CSA PSSM Best Student Paper Award was presented to Kristen Bass (University of Toronto), for her paper entitled “Étudiants en grève: Cultural Repertoires of Labour Organizing in the 2012 Quebec Student Strikes.”

The award committee was impressed with Kristen’s well written and researched paper on the discursive repertoires associated with 2012 Quebec Student Strike. The abstract for the paper is below. Congratulations, Kristen!

This paper analyzes movement organizing by Quebec students who went on strike against proposed tuition increases for six months in 2012. The legitimacy of students striking produced contentious debate, most pointedly because university administrations and other oppositional actors insisted that students were boycotting classes, not striking. A student strike is indeed a paradox. Students are not workers. Yet they used a tactic commonly reserved for legally-recognized labour unions and they explicitly described this tactic as a “strike.” Using discourse analysis of student newspaper coverage, I examine the cultural discursive repertoires students draw on to facilitate this protest tactic and assert its legitimacy. My findings suggest that three interrelated discursive dynamics operate in the meaning production of the 2012 student strikes. Students discursively establish their action within a specific history of student strikes, drawing on a legacy of collective action. Student protesters also discursively affirm their action as a strike, defining the action by intentional word choice, while also drawing comparisons to legally-recognized labour union strikes and citing logics of collectivity. Students also maintain the understanding of their action as a strike against discursive contests with oppositional actors who declare the action a boycott. In these discursive processes, activists within the Quebec student movement reproduce a culture of labour organizing through which to make sense of their collective strike and establish it as legitimate.

This entry was posted in Best Student Paper Award, Cluster News. Bookmark the permalink.