Quebec Studies

Briefly Noted

Quebec Studies (1991), 13, (1), 115

Abstract

SOCIAL SCIENCES 115 an unresponsive, though hardly dictatorial, political system) to a psychological profile of felquistes, something he fails to do. The second illustration of the author's parti pris is more disturbing, inasmuch as it concerns the consequences — in human terms — of FLQ activity between 1962 and 1972. Laurendeau draws up a balance sheet of deaths caused by the FLQ (seven in all, including Pierre Laporte) and concludes that the felquistes were only refaively violent, even moderate, and that most of the deaths were the consequence of "une négligence malencontreuse à la suite d'un appel à la bombe" ( 134). This abstract, actuarial attitude toward the human toll of terrorist action is an unfortunate echo of some of the more cavalier and heavily romanticized thinking found in the various manifestos of groups like the FLQ, the Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and so on. The fourth section of the book purports to offer a general theory of political violence in Quebec. Relying on the theories of James Davies and Ted Robert Gurr, Laurendeau concludes that the two most important waves of FLQ violence (1963 and 1970) can best be explained as a consequence of the growing gap between the expectations among the Québécois population, unleashed by the Quiet Revolution, and the capacity of the politico-economic system to respond to them (190-209). This might well constitute a partial explanation of the turbulence of these years, but as I noted earlier, in the absence of any micro-level analysis linking these structural variables to the psychological processes of the individuals involved, it remains a partial theory at best. Laurendeau concludes his analysis with the utterly outlandish assertion that a number of progressive reforms enacted in the 1970s — Bill 101, the new election financing law, changes in the Labour Code — were in large part the result of the FLQ's actions (290,294) · The author would do well to remember that each of these reforms was implemented by the Parti Québécois, a social democratic organization (until 1980, at least) which continually rejected the notion, propagated by the FLQ and similar movements, that a short-cut to a secular Utopia could be achieved by means of violence. Wilfrid Laurier University Brian Tanguay BRIEFLY NOTED The following work previously reviewed in Québec Studies is now available in English translation: SMART, PATRICIA. Writing in the Father's House: The Emergence of the Feminine in the Quebec Literary Tradition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991. Pp.300. Original French version reviewed by Mary Jean Green in Québec Studies 9 (Fall 1989/Winter 1990): 155-57.

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