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A book about citizenship, identity and multiculturalism

Who do we think we are

Key Ideas

What accounts for Canada’s apparent success at peaceful co-existence in this country of such remarkable human diversity? Is there a unique Canadian modus vivendi which keeps us talking and accommodating rather than ruling, deciding and excluding? And what about social cohesion? Is the Canadian model sustainable? Can we keep it all together when there is so little to bind citizens of such diverse backgrounds and interests? Is it even a good idea to talk about it?

“Who do we think we are?” brings contemporary academic research regarding the governance of communities of diversity, down off the shelves in the universities and think tanks and into the public conversation space. The book’s unorthodox format makes the ideas and insights being generated by researchers and observers, accessible and even entertaining for students and non-experts of all ages.

Who do we think we are?” is more likely to provoke discussion than to close the file on this key issue for governing in contemporary Canada. So read it and laugh. Or weep. Or worry about who you think we have become. Or celebrate it. But since the variety of cultures, languages, religions, identities and ways of doing things in Canada is not going away, we all had better loosen up and get more accustomed to the diversity-speak employed by the players in this short course in peaceful coexistence amongst citizens who have no choice but to live together constructively…and love it!

Diversity Bites... (short phrases from the book)

The inescapable reality is that more diversity is coming and there is no turning back.

My inescapable reality is that the whole world is in this together so accommodation is the only option.
You can’t just shove accommodation down our throats and say we have no choice but to accommodate to incoming cultures.

It is just as risky to “unreasonably” force Canadians to accommodate newcomers as it is to force newcomers to “unreasonably” conform to some narrow established model.

I want to be different. I want my difference to be accepted, and I don’t want to pay a price for that difference.

Reasonable accommodation does not mean accepting intolerance.

Do we have the makings of a winning model, or are we just not facing our precarious future?

There are human limits to accommodating diversity, and Canada’s rate is unsustainable, unless...

“Us” plus “them” equals “we.”  Maybe “we” just need to get on with it.

“Get on with it” hides the essential step of agreeing on what the problem is. We disagree on whether we even have a problem. That’s part of the problem.

I want to be part of the “we”, to be Canadian, so will someone tell me how to act Canadian, or when I am being un-Canadian?

by Robin Higham with illustrations by Isabelle Melançon

ISBN: 978-0-9813931-1-7 $19.95
distributor's EAN: 9780889701328

Ebooks: You can get "Who do we think we are?" in three formats: