Constant Struggle
Histories of Canadian Democratization

Edited by Julien Mauduit and Jennifer Tunnicliffe

A provocative collection of essays that reshapes our common understanding of Canada’s history with democracy.
Most Canadians assume they live under some form of democracy. Yet confusion about the meaning of the word and the limits of the people’s power obscures a deeper understanding. Constant Struggle looks for the democratic impulse in Canada’s past to deconstruct how the country became a democracy, if in fact it ever did.

This volume asks what limits and contradictions have framed the nation’s democratization process, examining how democracy has been understood by those who have advocated for or resisted it and exploring key historical realities that have shaped it. Scholars from a range of disciplines tackle this elusive concept, suggesting that instead of looking for a simple narrative, we must be alert to the slower, untidier, and incomplete processes of democratization in Canada. Constant Struggle offers a renewed, sometimes unsettling depiction, stretching from studies of early Indigenous societies, through colonial North America and Confederation, into the twentieth century. Contributors reassess democracy in light of settler colonialism and white supremacy, investigate connections between capitalism and democracy, consider alternative conceptions of democracy from Canada’s past, and highlight the various ways in which the democratic ideal has been mobilized to advance particular visions of Canadian society.

Demonstrating that Canada’s democratization process has not always been one that empowered the people, Constant Struggle questions traditional views of the relationship between democracy and liberalism in Canada and around the world.