Accepted paper:

Alternative futures for Montréal: national capital or cosmopolitan node?

Authors:

Monica Heller (University of Toronto)

Paper short abstract:

Two visions of Montréal compete: capital of a French-speaking nation-state vs. node in a transnational network of multilingual, cosmopolitan global cities. This competition encapsulates a tension common to many debates over the role of the city as nation-states reshape themselves in late modernity.

Paper long abstract:

There are two contrasting visions of Montréal: as the capital of a French-speaking nation-state, or as one node in a transnational network of multilingual, cosmopolitan global cities. This paper will examine how these alternative visions developed, showing how the late arrival of Québécois modernist nationalism comes up against two forms of global circulation: Montréal's colonial history and contemporary forms of transnational circulation of goods and people - at the same time as national identities are commodified on the global tertiary market. It will discuss the reasons why debates over which vision should shape the city's future focus on the terrain of language, pitting efforts to give the city a "French face" against increasing practices of multilingualism. Finally, it will explore how this debates divides the city's residents and would-be residents, linguistically, socially and spatially. The Montréal debate encapsulates one central tension common to many urban futures, namely what the city does for whom as nation-states reshape themselves in late modernity.

panel P112
Urban futures (WCAA/IUAES/JASCA joint panel) CLOSED - 10