British Journal of Canadian Studies

Secularism, intercultural openness, and reasonable accommodation: the perspectives of francophones and anglophones living in south-eastern Quebec

British Journal of Canadian Studies (2021), 33, (1), 47–76.

Abstract

Some studies suggest that religion is becoming a salient marker of immigrant identity. The protective impulse by western democracies to defend secularism can thus act as a barrier to immigrant integration. Given its legislative stance on secularism, Quebec affords a unique opportunity to study the interplay of attitudes and political culture on host community openness to cultural diversity. Surveying 395 south-eastern Quebec mother-tongue French and English participants, we found that though the former deemed ethnic and religious targets as more open to close social contact than the latter, they were less accommodating of diversity. Their perceptions of religious target openness overshadowed their views of ethnic targets, thereby registering less accommodating attitudes while confirming their perception of religion as a salient marker of immigrant diversity. Contextualizing a social-psychological analysis of attitudes toward immigration seems relevant when seen through two linguistic groups differently related to the historical unfolding of modern Quebec.

Certaines études suggèrent que la religion devient un marqueur important de l’identité des immigrants. L’impulsion des démocraties occidentales à protéger la laïcité peut représenter un obstacle à l’intégration des immigrants. Vu sa position législative sur la laïcité, le Québec offre une occasion unique d’étudier l’interaction des attitudes et de la culture politique sur l’ouverture de la communauté d’accueil à la diversité culturelle. Notre sondage auprès de 395 participants de langue maternelle française et anglaise du sud-est du Québec révèle que plus de Francophones que d’Anglophones perçoivent les cibles ethniques et religieuses comme plus ouvertes à des contacts sociaux étroits, cependant qu’ils sont moins accommodants à l’égard de la diversité. Leur perception de l’ouverture des cibles religieuses éclipse leur vision des cibles ethniques, engendrant ainsi des attitudes moins accommodantes tout en affermissant la religion comme un marqueur important de la diversité des immigrants. La mise en contexte d’une analyse sociopsychologique des attitudes à l’égard de l’immigration semble pertinente lorsqu’elle est envisagée à travers deux groupes linguistiques liés différemment à l’évolution historique du Québec moderne.

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Author details

Stout, Dale

Charpentier, Claude

Chiasson, Myriam