Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference, Date: 2004/06/02 - 2004/06/05, Location: University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada

Publication date: 2004-06


Woons, Marc


Attempts to define the north traditionally have been done by physical geographers who note climatic conditions and its effects on human settlement. More recently, social scientists have pitted a northern, indigenous, and homeland identity of the north versus a southern, exogenous, and frontier mentality. These two approaches exemplify extremes: geographers with a focus on the land and social scientists as a homeland based on myth. I will argue that both are important, but that a third element must be added: proximity. This is not only a physical proximity to the north, but a social proximity to those cultural traits that are northern. This empirical component will be combined with a more normative section that deals with how this culture should be represented democratically, if at all. In this regard, it seeks to see if there is clout to claims by those who call for more political representation in the north and for northerners in larger units such as provincially and federally. This leads to issues of recognition, a universal identity versus particular identities, and the practical issues such debates entail. The aim of this is less to decide what ought to be done, but to show what could be done, and under what justification.