Canada is often called a pluralist state, but few commentators view Aboriginal self-government from the perspective of political pluralism. Instead, Aboriginal identity is framed in terms of cultural and national traits, while self-government is taken to represent an Aboriginal desire to protect those traits. Shifting Boundaries challenges this view, arguing that it fosters a woefully incomplete understanding of the politics of self-government.
Taking the position that a relational theory of pluralism offers a more accurate interpretation, Tim Schouls contends that self-government is better understood when an "identification" perspective on Aboriginal identity is adopted instead of a "cultural" or "national" one. He shows that self-government is not about preserving cultural and national differences as goods in and of themselves, but rather is about equalizing current imbalances in power to allow Aboriginal peoples to construct their own identities.
In focusing on relational pluralism, Shifting Boundaries adds an important perspective to existing theoretical approaches to Aboriginal self-government. It will appeal to academics, students, and policy analysts interested in Aboriginal governance, cultural studies, political theory, nationalism studies, and constitutional theory.
Tim Schouls divides his time between the University of British Columbia and Capilano College, teaching and doing research in Canadian politics, Aboriginal governance issues, and political theory.
Acknowledgments Introduction 1 Identity Politics and Pluralist Theory 2 Approaches to Aboriginal Identity 3 Aboriginal Culture, Nation, and the Politics of Difference 4 Aboriginal Women, Youth, and the Priority of Individual Choice 5 Aboriginal Boundaries and the Demand for External Equality 6 Aboriginal Identity and the Desire for Internal Equality Conclusion: Aboriginal Self-Government and the Politics of Pluralism Notes Bibliography Index