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Title: Precarity and persistence in Canada's company province
Author: LeBlanc, Emma Findlen
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 6272
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Contemporary scholarship of neoliberalism tends to emphasize its ubiquity, underscoring capitalism's permeation into life's most intimate spheres. However, I show through careful ethnographic description that even within the paradigmatically capitalist conditions of New Brunswick, Canada - popularly christened a 'company province' - marginalized communities continue to maintain anti-capitalist moralities. Based on eighteen months of participant observation, this ethnography examines how an Acadian forest community in northwestern New Brunswick cultivates an alternative regime of values and also how those values are contained, eroded, and politically disarmed. I explain how a moral system based in the division between insiders and outsiders emerged to ensure the survival of rural Acadian communities throughout longstanding historical conditions of material precarity. This moral dualism serves to maintain fierce egalitarianism between insiders while justifying underhanded and illegal techniques for appropriating resources from the outsider sphere. While the persistence of this communitarian, egalitarian, anti-materialist insider moral order and the sharing economy it sustains is notable, especially given prevalent scholarly assessments about neoliberalism's colonization of our very imaginations, I show that maintaining the insider moral order in the face of community members' increasing material engagements with capitalism produces compromises, contradictions, and violences. The Acadians' dualist moral system absorbs hierarchies such as race and gender in ways that ultimately violate insider aspirations to egalitarianism and obstruct the development of insider moral persistence into more politically transformative resistance. Preservation of the insider sphere also demands periodic renegotiation of its boundaries under the pressures of new forms of precarity, such that the cost of maintaining the insider community is the expulsion of some of its members. This dissertation is thus a study of how capitalism comes to accommodate dissident moralities in its midst in ways that defuse their political threat, and the mechanisms by which compliance with capitalism is coaxed and coerced even in contexts of ideological opposition.
Supervisor: Greenhouse, Carol J. ; Clarke, Morgan D. H. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Canada ; Anthropology ; Ethnology ; Acadians--Ethnic identity ; Forests and forestry ; Neoliberalism