1) Historicizing Discourses of Individualism in Alberta, Canada and 2) Discourses of Youth and Sexuality in the Province of the ‘Severely Normal’: Alberta in the 1990’s
MetadataShow full item record
1) Historicizing Discourses of Individualism in Alberta, Canada Discourses of individualism dominate popular narratives of Alberta identity and identification. One enduring story is of Albertans as rugged pioneers forged out of an unforgiving frontier landscape. More recently, the narrative about Albertans is understood in the context of capitalism and neo-liberalism: the Albertan as a new age entrepreneur who is self-sufficient, independent thinking, and aggressive. In both discourses, the rugged frontier pioneer and the new age entrepreneur, the idea of self sufficiency, independent thinking, and toughness work to produce a sense that Alberta is populated by lone, ranging individuals who work hard and want everyone else in Canada to have the same work and self-sufficiency ethic. In this paper I explore how space and memory work to produce discourses of a collective and individual Alberta identity that is informed by individualism but simultaneously undermined by evidence from historical and contemporary social practices. Through this exploration it will become clear that even as people in the province both embrace and resist individualism, as that which informs who we are, those who call themselves Albertan are each nevertheless caught up “in a symbolic order that everywhere surpasses us, and endlessly recuperates our sociality, sewing us in universes of meaning that are greater than ourselves” (Sayer, 2003, p. 45). 2) Discourses of Youth and Sexuality in the Province of the \'Severely Normal\': Alberta in the 1990s The government of Alberta in the 1990s actively contested the legal rights of sexual minority citizens. Provincial premier Ralph Klein defended this position by claiming that most Albertans, whom he characterised as \'severely normal,\' were not in favour of recognizing homosexuality as a protected category in the province in the provincial human rights code. In this paper I will discuss how youth identities have been produced through dominant and often competing discourses about youth, sexuality, and gender and how queer youth in the province of Alberta negotiated the contradictions of these discourses. I juxtapose the voices of queer youth people in Alberta with discourses that claim expert knowledge about young people\'s lives. I will also discuss what queer youth have to say about their lives in renditions of homosexuality from the Alberta Report, a weekly magazine published in the 1990s that, despite fiscal marginality, had significant impact on social values in Alberta.