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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Lived Fictions

Unity and Exclusion in Canadian Politics

Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Lived Fictions

Unity and Exclusion in Canadian Politics

The idea of political unity contains its own opposite, because a political community can never guarantee the equal status of all its members. The price of belonging is an entrenched social stratification within the political unit itself. This book explores how the desire for political unity generates a collective commitment to certain lived fictions – the citizen-state, the market economy, and so forth – that shape our understanding of political legitimacy and responsibility. Canada promises unity through democratic politics, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, a welfare state, and a multicultural approach to cultural relations. John Grant documents the historical failure of these promises, elaborating the radical institutional and intellectual changes needed to overcome our lived fictions.


304 pages


Table of Contents

Introduction: Unity and Politics

Part 1: Imagining Unity and Exclusion

1 Becoming One: Visions of Political Unity

2 On the Critique of Political Imaginaries

Part 2: Lived Fictions in Canadian Politics

3 A People without Sovereignty: Canada’s Constituent Power Problem

4 The Crown and the Aboriginal: Imaginaries of Sovereignty and Control

5 Embedded Neoliberalism: A New Imaginary for the Welfare State

6 Canada’s Multiverse: The Dis/Unity of Cultures

7Institutions and Actions: A Vision of Democratization

Conclusion: Critique and Politics – Or, What Makes a Birthday Party Memorable

Notes; Selected Bibliography; Index

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