Quebec Studies

Editor's Note

Quebec Studies (2001), 32, (1), 1–2.

Abstract

1 Editor's Note Thanks to Greenpeace, "Think globally, act locally" has become a political catchphrase. And indeed, one of the most important results of recent think­ ing about the globalization of trade is a new focus on the activities of polit­ ical units below the level of the nation-state: regional units, such as those in Europe, and cities as well. In Quebec, as in the rest of Canada, the old ar­ rangement whereby the powers of cities are largely determined by the provincial government, and indeed in which their very existence is subject to provincial legislation, as seen in the recent wave of amalgamations in Quebec, questions are being raised about the degree of autonomy urban governments need, not only to raise necessary revenues, but to respond to ever-shifting trade arrangements by fostering critical clusters of innovative industrial and research firms. In our lead article this issue, Peter Karl Kresl offers an insightful analysis of the Quebec City area and its competitive potential in this context, along with some comparisons with the more famil­ iar situation of Montreal. Of course, the language in which one thinks globally remains a matter of compelling concern for all non-English speaking countries, and in the de­ velopment of La Francophonie as an international institution, cultural matters cannot be divorced from economic ones, as the impassioned debates about "cultural diversity" and "cultural exceptions" from homogenizing free-trade laws make very clear. But what can organizations based on cultural or lin­ guistic history hope to accomplish? Jody Neathery-Castro and Mark O. Rousseau survey the background, current situation, and future prospects of the Orga?iisation Internationale de la Francophonie, and address some of the uncertainty and skepticism surrounding a group whose membership is itself divided between more and less-developed countries, including some where French is the language only of a small minority. At the same time, this is an organization in which Quebec can exercise useful influence, and which in turn helps support the future of francophone influence within Canada itself. Our section on literary and cultural studies includes a searching article by Paula Gilbert on the phenomenon of women's violence as it is mediated in the fictional discourse of Suzanne Jacob as well as in the legal discourses of statute and case law. She shows the difficulties and the hesita­ tions of both kinds of language in their attempts to come to grips with one of the most culturally-threatening of crimes: that of a mother against her child. On a very different topic, Yan Hamel's analysis of Mordecai Richler's final novel, Barney's Version, within the framework of québécois literature, has equally far-reaching implications in its implicit questioning of the dis­ courses of Quebec—and Canadian—literatures as "national" constructs. Hamel's article also serves as a transition to our special dossier on the rewriting of literary history. Whether or not it arose as a reaction to the abstraction of some post-structuralist forms of criticism, it is certainly the case that one of the most productive trends in research today is a reconsid­ eration of what literary history can or should mean in an age when, as post­ modern theorists have taught us, the "grand narratives" no longer apply. In

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Coleman, Patrick