(Il)legitimate linguistic and cultural identities in academic milieus: Ontario’s francophone minority
Sylvie A. Lamoureux (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada)
Canada has two official language communities. Although the Francophone community is usually associated with the province of Quebec, throughout Canada’s history there has been a permanent Francophone presence in every province. The largest of the Francophone communities outside Quebec is located in Ontario. Due to the immense geographic landscape, the minority language community has always been dispersed. Globalization has brought increased mobility and helped increase Ontario’s Francophone population with immigration. French first language schools (K-12) in this province have a state mandated identity construction agenda to ensure the vitality of this official minority language community. However, no such mandate exists at the post-secondary level.
This paper will draw on data collected during an 18 month critical reflexive ethnographic study of the transition to university to demonstrate how certain university discursive spaces in Ontario (de)legitimize certain aspects of Franco-ontarian linguistic and cultural identity. Authenticity of local and or regional minority francophone identity and cultural markers are questioned both by “insider” and “outsider” perspectives, leading participants to question their own identity both as members of Canada’s Francophone community as well as the international “Francophonie”