Quebec Studies

The Power of Words: The State as a Literary Creation

Quebec Studies (1985), 3, (1), 12–31.

Abstract

The Power of Words: The State as a Literary Creation Daniel Latouche The last twenty-five years of Québec history have been the focus of much attention, mostly by social scientists. True, they are not the only professional interpreters who have sought to make sense of those years, but they have clearly been the most successful in imposing their vision of the Quiet Revolu­ tion. As a result, their interpretations, counter-interpretations and internal debates have become the explanatory categories through which the Quiet Revolution has been assessed. Attempts at imposing a psychological or literary vision of that period have either failed or not gone very much outside the boundaries of their respective disciplines. On the other hand, the multitude of scientific works on the most glamourous social aspects of the Quiet Revolution, the state-building pro­ cess, the accelerated rhythm of social change, the emergence of a new national identity and the drastic transformations in the class structure have had little impact on the international scientific corpus. It would seem that the knowledge gained from applying the tools of social sciences to the Québec case, which, after all, has none of the intricacies of more complex situations, have not proven very satisfactory. Even the assurance with which "definitive" explanations of the period are provided, does not entirely mask the fact that we still do not really know why and what took place. 1 2 *This is a revised version of an address given at the annual meeting of the Northeast Council for Québec Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, October 1 9 8 4 . Since the original talk was a m o m e n t of verbal improvisation, the written text has undergone a number of changes.

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Latouche, Daniel