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TOPIC: Playing the Identity Card: Identity Mobilization in Canadian Elections


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Joanna Everitt


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Angelia Wagner

Section Head Women, Gender and Politics

Identity is playing an increasingly important role in Canadian elections whether in terms of parties’ choices as to the candidates they run to represent them, the policy appeals that they or other advocacy organizations make to mobilize voter support or attention, or the manner in which these identities are communicated through social media or more traditional news sources. This workshop, co-sponsored by the Women, Gender and Politics, the Race, Ethnicity, Indigenous Peoples and Politics, and the Political Behaviour/Sociology sections of the CPSA, aims to explore these identities and how they are engaged in Canadian elections. It welcomes paper proposals that speak to diverse identities, focus on elections at any order of government, and draw on a variety of methodological approaches. It is particularly interested in those that address:

  • parties and candidates and how they employ identities;
  • the manner in which advocacy organizations or issues mobilize identity in election campaigns;
  • how identity is mediated through social and traditional media sources;
  • and how voters’ identity might influence their response to all of these appeals.

The best papers from the workshop will be invited to become chapters in an edited volume on identity mobilization in Canadian elections.

Questions about this workshop can be directed to Angelia Wagner ( and Joanna Everitt (



TOPIC: Reimagining Reproduction: Law, Politics, and Policy


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Alana Cattapan


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Megan Gaucher


From access to abortion to the emergence of reproductive and genetic technologies to the continued regulation of the reproductive autonomy of marginalized populations, new developments in law, policy, and politics are rapidly shifting the ways that reproduction in Canada (and elsewhere) is governed. This workshop, co-sponsored by the Women, Gender, and Politics and the Law and Public Policy sections of the CPSA will bring together scholars who are interested in how law, politics, and public policy shape, constrain, and empower people’s reproductive lives.

We are particularly interested in papers that address:

  • Conservative and/or populist policy responses to calls for reproductive justice
  • How systems of oppression (e.g., racism, xenophobia, misogyny, transphobia, classism, etc.) function together and through reproductive rights/politics
  • The governance and regulation of contraception, abortion, reproductive and genetic technologies, hormone replacement therapies, etc.
  • The governing logics/biopolitics of reproduction
  • The governance and regulation of Indigenous peoples’ reproductive autonomy, as well as sites of resistance and mobilization
  • The regulation of reproductive and birth tourisms
  • The judicial, ethical, and moral regulation of pregnancy, including theoretical approaches
  • Concerns related to the governance and regulation of reproduction in the lives of LGBTQ+ people
  • The politicization of various “stages” of reproductive life (e.g., puberty, preconception, pregnancy, post-partum, menopause)
  • How people mobilize against restriction and resist constraints on reproductive autonomy and justice

We are also open to other topics not listed here but broadly related to the governance and regulation of reproduction. Papers from this workshop may be invited to become either chapters in an edited volume or articles in a special edition journal on reproductive politics. Questions about this workshop can be directed to and



TOPIC: Ideology and Authoritarian Resilience in the Global South


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Nhu Truong


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Cuong Nguyen


In the summer of 1989, Francis Fukuyama in The End of History announced, with a steady glow of optimism, the inevitable triumph of Western Liberal Democracy and the demise of Communism. Three decades later, however, illiberal ideologies have yet to vanish from the political landscape of the Global South. The twenty first century has witnessed communism in China making a great comeback in a more powerful and hybrid form. Fusing capitalism with state interventionism, the Beijing Consensus has become an internationally exportable model of competitive authoritarianism that is now openly opposing Western liberalism on the ideological front. In the international system, authoritarian regimes persist and strategically adapt to the continual challenge of liberal practices and human rights organizations. In domestic society, their longevity hinges upon the infrastructural power of institutionalized and cohesive states that serve to suppress popular demands for democracy, curtail civil society and social movements, and generate civilian compliance.

Notwistanding the growing prevalence and complexity of ideology in the political landscape of authoritarianism, the politics of ideology has remained at the periphery of mainstream political science, only to be studied by small circles of political and critical/postmodern theorists. One reason may be that the scholarship in comparative politics is dominated by the materialist-rationalist paradigm, which focuses on control and capacity of the ruling regime to manage and distribute material resources and rents, and to construct political institutions and coercion. The lack of theoretical and analytical engagement in the subject not only among students of politics but also among scholars across social sciences, as American anthropologist Glifford Geertz pointed out, stems less from “methodological indiscipline” than from the orthdox, evaluative (that is pejorative) definitions of ideology as the “collective false consciousness” masking the “real” conditions of economic production, “causes of intellectual error,” or radical beliefs “deviating from scientific objectivity.”

If the world has really learnt something from the current pandemic, it is the surprising fact that autocracies are neither less vulnerable to nor more effective than democracies in handling human-security crisis, despite their imposition of severe lock-down and mobility restriction measures. If answers to the questions of material and punitive inducements cannot tell us the whole story about why authoritarian regimes continue to endure and bounce back stronger after crisis, then, as political scientist Lisa Wedeen suggests, a political analysis of how regime elites and state bureaucrats control and manipulate the symbolic world, or the systems of signification, may be able to fill out the gap. In recent years, critical theorists have sought to bring ideology and hegemony back to sociology, anthropology, political theory and postcolonial theory. In these disciplines, ideology has been redefined as a system of collectively held normative and contested factual ideas, values, beliefs, or symbols that are mobilized in support for specific patterns of social relationships, institutional arrangements and conducts. While the effects of ideological systems may give the impression of mystification in the public transcript, even the most subordinate group, in James C. Scott’s words, “are able, on the daily basis of their material experience, to penetrate and demystify the prevailing ideology” within the “hidden transcript.”

Now is an opportune time to move beyond the materialist outlook and bring ideology back to the study of politics. This workshop intends to engage participants with two overarching questions: (1) what are the effects and power of ideology in relation to state building, political legitimacy, and contentious politics/social movements in the authoritarian world, and (2) how can existing methodological tools and theoretical frameworks within the discipline be employed alone, or creatively combined with others from different disciplines, to gain an effective understanding of the object of interest? These overarching questions will be examined through three key themes:

Social Movement, Everyday & Contentious Politics

  • To what extent can dominant paradigms of social movements, such as the political opportunity structure and resource mobilization, be challenged or complemented by movement frame and other cultural approaches that put political ideology at the forefront of their research agenda?
  • To what extent can ideological hegemony through the aid of state institutions and propaganda lead to either everyday resistance and/or contentious politics?
  • What are the roles of ideology and discourse in regards to the formation of social movement identity, framing, and the mobilization of collective action in authoritarian regimes?
  • How does the state seek to counter social movements through the manipulation of propaganda and social media to shape civilian perceptions of social movement groups and actors?
  • To what extent does the structural theory of revolution (e.g., Theda Skocpol’s and Jack Goldstone’s models) undertheorize the role of ideology?

Nation-State Building

  • How does ideology work in the service of nation-state building in the developing world?
  • What are ideological mechanisms by which state power and legitimacy are consolidated in the Global South?
  • How do powerful illiberal states construct domestic and international narratives that challenge Western neoliberal discourses on human rights, capitalism, and democracy?
  • How do state institutions operate in the service of legitimizing political authority and legitimacy of authoritarian regimes?
  • To what extent do the content and form of political ideology of developmental states differ from that of the predatory state?

Political Legitimacy

  • How does regime ideology generate loyalty and compliance from different social classes to authoritarian rule?
  • What are ideological mechanisms by which authoritarian rule is consolidated and sustained?
  • How does competitive authoritarianism resist democratization by coopting the middle class that was once predicted by modernization theorists to be the leading social force for democracy?
  • To what extent are authoritarianism and neoliberalism connected? What are manifestations of authoritarian neoliberalism or neoliberal autocracy and to what extent do they vary across countries and regions?

We invite individual papers which address one or more of the above questions, and others related to the theme. We also welcome papers that explore other issues related to ideology more generally. The workshop presents an opportunity for participants to not only engage with the themes above, but also to build a comprehensive and rigorous research agenda aimed at exploring the role of ideology in a systematic manner.



TOPIC: Elections, Parties, and Public Opinion in Québec Politics


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Jean-François Daoust

University of Edinburgh

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Alex B. Rivard

Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship

In many ways, Québec politics seems to be at a crossroad and a possible partisan realignment. In 2018, neither the Parti Québécois nor the Liberal Party of Québec formed the government – a first in almost 50 years. Schisms within the independence movement and lack of strategic coordination seem to hurt ‘sovereigntist-left parties’. The PLQ, meanwhile, was relegated to its worst electoral performance since 1976. What account for these changes? How ‘old parties’ (may) adapt to these challenges? Are new social and political issues replacing established ideological dimensions? How comparative research considering other substate nations (e.g., Scotland and Catalonia) or Canadian provinces help us make sense of those transformations?

In the context of the upcoming Quebec provincial election, reuniting scholars interested in Québec politics will provide an enticing opportunity to address those questions and contribute to the dynamism of the field in an election year. The workshop welcomes paper proposals that aim to improve our understanding of Québec politics by addressing issues related to elections, parties, and public opinion. In particular, the following topics would nicely fit within the scope of the workshop:

  • Analyses of electoral behaviour (voter turnout, vote choice) and other forms of political participation (online activism, demonstrations, etc.) in Québec politics.
  • The state of public opinion on national/regional identities, independence, federalism, and similar questions.
  • Party systems and partisan realignment in Québec.
  • Legislative behaviour in the Quebec National Assembly.
  • Party strategies.
  • Comparison of Québec with other substate nations or Canadian provinces on the preceding topics.

As for all congress activities, the workshop is bilingual but we would like the restate that participants are welcome to submit proposals in French. Discussants will be bilingual and will be able to read and provide comments for both English and French submissions.

Questions about this workshop can be directed to Alex B. Rivard ( ) and Jean-François Daoust ( ).



TOPIC: Working Class Politics in Canada


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Jacob Robbins-Kanter


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Royce Koop


Canadians from working-class backgrounds are often overlooked by politicians, policy makers, and political scientists. Some have questioned whether class is a politically relevant social division in Canada. With shifting electoral alignments, changing labour market patterns, and socioeconomic inequality exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to revisit the political importance of class status. This workshop seeks to place questions of working-class identity and interests within a larger empirical context of class membership and voting behaviour, political parties, and representation. It aims to uncover the ways in which class background remains an important factor in explaining political outcomes and behaviour, sometimes in ways that are not readily apparent.

The workshop will bring together scholarly perspectives focused on working-class politics, and three aspects in particular:

  • Class status as a determinant of voting behaviour;
  • The intersection of class politics and federal party campaign strategy;
  • Descriptive and substantive working-class representation in federal political institutions.

The goal is to use several of the papers from the workshop to develop an edited volume on working class politics in Canada.

Questions about this workshop can be directed to Jacob Robbins-Kanter ( or Royce Koop (

Questions? Contact the CPSA Secretariat.

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