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Deindustrializing Montreal: Entangled Histories of Race, Residence, and Class

Paru le 13 juin 2022
Deindustrializing Montreal: Entangled Histories of Race, Residence, and Class
Point Saint-Charles, a his­tor­i­cal­ly white work­ing-class neigh­bour­hood with a strong Irish and French pres­ence, and Lit­tle Bur­gundy, a mul­tira­cial neigh­bour­hood that is home to the city’s Eng­lish-speak­ing Black com­mu­ni­ty, face each oth­er across Montreal’s Lachine Canal, once an artery around which work and indus­try in Mon­tre­al were clus­tered and by which these two com­mu­ni­ties were formed and divid­ed. Dein­dus­tri­al­iz­ing Mon­tre­al chal­lenges the deep­en­ing diver­gence of class and race analy­sis by rec­og­niz­ing the inti­mate rela­tion­ship between cap­i­tal­ism, class strug­gles, and racial inequal­i­ty. Fun­da­men­tal­ly, dein­dus­tri­al­iza­tion is a process of phys­i­cal and social ruina­tion as well as part of a wider polit­i­cal project that leaves work­ing-class com­mu­ni­ties impov­er­ished and demor­al­ized. The struc­tur­al vio­lence of cap­i­tal­ism occurs grad­u­al­ly and out of sight, but it doesn’t play out the same for every­one. Point Saint-Charles was left to rot until it was reval­orized by gen­tri­fi­ca­tion, where­as Lit­tle Bur­gundy was torn apart by urban renew­al and high­way con­struc­tion. This his­tor­i­cal diver­gence had pro­found con­se­quences in how urban change has been expe­ri­enced, under­stood, and remem­bered. Draw­ing exten­sive inter­views, a mas­sive and var­ied archive of imagery, and orig­i­nal pho­tog­ra­phy by David Lewis into a com­plex cho­rus, Steven High brings these com­mu­ni­ties to life, trac­ing their his­to­ry from their ear­li­est years to their decline and their cur­rent real­i­ty. He extends the analy­sis of dein­dus­tri­al­iza­tion, often focused on sin­gle-indus­try towns, to cities that have seem­ing­ly made the post-indus­tri­al tran­si­tion. The urban neigh­bour­hood has nev­er been a set­tled con­cept, and its appar­ent inno­cence masks con­sid­er­able con­tes­ta­tion, diver­gence, and change over time. Dein­dus­tri­al­iz­ing Mon­tre­al thinks crit­i­cal­ly about local­i­ty, reveal­ing how her­itage becomes an agent of gen­tri­fi­ca­tion, inves­ti­gat­ing how places like Lit­tle Bur­gundy and the Point acquire race and class iden­ti­ties, and ques­tion­ing what is pre­served and for whom.
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