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A Small Town in Modern Times

Alexandria, Ontario

by David Rayside

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list price: $95.00
published: 1991

Rayside conducted informal interviews with more than 150 Glengarrians and attended numerous meetings of local councils, school boards, planning boards, and conservation authorities. This field research provides the basis for a detailed examination of the self-image of the town as a friendly, caring, united community, and of the unequal power relations that exist between different social classes, Language groups, and men and women. Working-class life is disadvantaged in Alexandria much as it is in large cities, French-English relations are strained, and the experience of women has not been affected to any great extent by the challenges of feminism. Local government in Alexandria may be more accessible to the ordinary citizen than it is elsewhere but, as Rayside shows, the local council rarely engages in issues of genuine concern to residents, who themselves largely ignore municipal politics. Most local politicians seem inclined to avoid controversy and innovation, hoping to retain an environment favourable to business investment. Rayside examines the impact of the external world on a small community. He situates this impact and the resulting changes in historical context and reveals economic and social relationships that differ from what many of Alexandria's inhabitants believe to be the case. A Small Town in Modern Times will be of interest not only to students and scholars of political science, sociology, history, and Canadian studies but also to residents of Alexandria and any other small community in transition.

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Editorial Review

"Community power studies have played an important role in sociology and in political science in exploring a number of very important questions -- Language relations, economic and political power, modernization, etc. This study is fully within that tradition and therefore very useful for our understanding of modern-day Canada." Caroline Andrew, Department of Political Science, University of Ottawa. "This study, with the rich materials of class, gender, ethnicity, Language and local politics to draw on, would seem to be destined for success ... Rayside is sensitive and honest." Stanley Barrett, Department of Anthropology, University of Guelph.

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About the Author

David Rayside

David Rayside is a professor in the Department of Political Science and an associate of the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. He is the author of  Queer Inclusions, Continental Divisions: Public Recognition of Sexual Diversity in Canada and the United States.
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