The Mayor and the Community: “Politics” in Small Municipalities in Québec
Nov 16, 2023 — 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
An event organised by the Centre on Governance.
, professor of Political Science at the University of Quebec at Rimouski (Societies, Territories and Development Department). He is a member of the interdisciplinary research group on territorial development, Eastern Quebec (GRIDEQ), of the Center for Research on Territorial Development (CRDT), and an associate member of the Center for Research on Social Innovations (CRISES). His research focuses on theories of social and territorial development and territorial governance of peripheral regions.
The lack of interest in Quebec studies in the role of local elected officials is damaging, even though this is a dynamic field in Europe and local democracy is regularly valued in North America. Based on an ethnographic survey in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, we examine the field of everyday politics, of which the mayor is the custodian. The discreet but effective nature of this “political” activity unfolds in three spheres: the sphere of personal and interpersonal relationships which make the mayor a specific personality; the sphere of community relations, which make the mayor the conductor of a decision-making process largely influenced by local actors (family clans, local officials, citizens, etc.); the sphere of intermunicipal relations, which make certain Mercéan elected officials the bearers of a consensus between municipalities which obliges the government, in the sense of constraint but also of incitement to action. The exploratory analysis of this complexity also reveals the community embeddedness of politics in Quebec (here in peripheral regions) but also poses, more broadly, a question about the contours of Quebec political identity.