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Belonging ❰PDF❯ ✅ Belonging Author Adrienne Clarkson – Buyprobolan50.co.uk 2014 Massey Lectures co sponsored by CBC Radio House of Anansi Press and Massey College in the University of Toronto It was written by Adrienne Clarkson Canada's 26th Governor General She writes about Massey Lectures co sponsored by CBC Radio House of Anansi Press and Massey College in the University of Toronto It was written by Adrienne Clarkson Canada's th Governor General She writes about the challenges faced by all societies brought about by seismic shifts of population arguing that a sense of Belonging is a necessary mediation between an individual and society She discusses the evolution of citizenship throughout the ages how we measure up today and what is needed to bring into being the citizen and society of the future.


10 thoughts on “Belonging

  1. Kara Babcock Kara Babcock says:

    Occasionally copies of the Massey Lectures show up in my hands I think it’s usually my dad’s fault Belonging The Paradox of Citizenship is the collection of Adrienne Clarkson’s 2014 lectures As the title implies she examines what it means to “belong” to a nation with specific reference to her experience as an immigrant Canadian Clarkson is definitely a fascinating author for this topic Given her background her career as a journalist and then her time as Canada’s Governor General she has a diverse wealth of experience She can certainly pursue this topic from a variety of angles and this comes through in her lectures On the other hand I was never completely sold on what I saw hereIn the first lecture “The Circle Widens” Clarkson examines how we build trust networks She relates a few historical anecdotes a village in France whose inhabitants today can trace most of their lineages back to the 1400s; a man who was impersonated for decades yet his closest family either didn’t realize or went along with it This is an effective beginning to the uestion of Belonging I guess and the anecdotes were all right However—and this is a critiue that’s going to recur—I lost the central thread of her argument until she sums up at the end of the chapterIn the second lecture “The Glory That Was Greece” Clarkson looks at ancient Greece as a birthplace of democracy and the concept of citizenship as a specific political class My main takeaway from this chapter is the emphasis on participation as a necessary condition to belonging; ie the real evolutionary idea within democracy is that these “citizens” are otherwise ordinary people who participate in the co creation of their society’s norms in a very direct egalitarian overt way Towards the end of the chapter Clarkson critiues elements specific to Athenian democracy then segues briefly into how this relates to Canada as a beacon of a country that has experimented with democracy in a inclusive way More thoughts on this soonIn the third lecture “The Cosmopolitan Ethic” Clarkson examines how growing up in a diverse inclusionary or multicultural society might influence one’s sense of belonging She takes us all across the globe and history looking at the Icelandic althing as well as her own experience growing up in southern Ontario and the general experience of what an immigrant to Canada might discover as they learn about this country Although Clarkson by and large tries to acknowledge and include Indigenous perspectives on these issues in her lectures this chapter uses the phrase “The primitive tom toms linking blood to nationality are somewhat slow to lose their resonance” and I’m not sure how that got past the editors Much side eyeing should be directed hereIn the fourth lecture “Ubuntu” Clarkson uses the titular concept to discuss what connections between people lead to feelings of belonging NB I am typing this using the operating system Ubuntu This chapter features detailed discussions of Indigenous perspectives and how they contrast with European values that colonized Turtle Island Clarkson’s experience as Governor General and therefore as a representative of the Crown in many a ceremony negotiation or meeting with First Nations Métis and Inuit representatives exposed her to a lot of uniue and interesting moments that no doubt shaped her thoughts on these subjects But with so many topics and ideas to discuss here nothing really gets the time or focus it deservesFinally “Gross National Happiness” proposes alternative ways to measure and maintain a nation’s satisfaction To make people feel like they belong Clarkson argues you need to cultivate that sense of belonging You need to have conversations as a whole society that very deliberately discuss and debate and then determine the values by which we decide who and how we belong to this body This is a compelling point of view I suppose although also kind of self evident?I guess what I’m trying to get across is that there isn’t really a lot in these lectures that jumps out at me as particularly objectionable or outright wrong Yet there also isn’t anything that made me sit up and go “oh whoa you’re right” Clarkson tries to cover so much jumps around from topic to topic and theme to theme that no unified thesis emerges over the five lectures Despite ostensibly discussing “belonging” Clarkson meanders over far too much territory to leave me with a strong enough impression of what she actually wants to sayI’m also really ambivalent about the rah rah Canadian exceptionalism that seems latent to her tone Yes she offers some critiues of how settler Canadians and the European settlers before them treated Indigenous peoples She points out racism such as the Chinese Head Tax that affected her own family’s immigration Yet underneath this all Clarkson suggests that Canada is better than some other places positions us as this beacon to which many people travel and seek belonging Given her history I’m not at all surprised by this position yet I can’t really agree with itBelonging lacks the structure or the bite to really make it as thought provoking as it could be It’s a richly layered well told set of Massey Lectures that nonetheless leaves little in the way of a memorable impression


  2. Andrew Griffith Andrew Griffith says:

    Adrienne Clarkson’s Belonging The Paradox of Citizenship is an interesting paradox in itself of the theoretical and practical in her arguments in favour of open and inclusive Canadian citizenshipFor Clarkson the act of imagination of behaving “as if” people are all good citizens helps makes this come into being full disclosure I am mentioned in the acknowledgements for providing advice and friendshipHer examples range from the mountain people of the Ik in Uganda whose society fell apart when their territory disappeared; to Eygalières in Provence France which won and maintained its independence; the French film Le Retour de Martin Guerre on how identity can be assumed; ancient Greece and the golden age of Athenian democracy; the community strength of the Althing Icelandic gathering of chiefs; the African concept of Ubuntu of connectedness and interdependence; the Asian nation of Bhutan’s gross national happiness; and Canadian Aboriginal circles of the “same rings of being”Her basic premise is that humans are hard and soft wired towards co operation as much as competition She believes that there is such a thing as the common good of society and that individuals need common rules for living together and contributing to the overall health of their societyComplementing what some may criticize as being overly theoretical and abstruse Clarkson cites concrete Canadian examples “Pay it forward” at Tim Hortons coffee line ups governor general bravery awards civic behaviour at a Rosedale four way stop sign in Toronto and even “hook up” sites reinforce her optimistic viewHer language reinforces her relentlessly upbeat message almost overwhelmingly so She concludes borrowing from Bhutan’s gross national happiness with the importance of generosity ethics tolerance patience and perseverance as key to successContrast this positive language to the federal government’s scolding tone in its focus on value abuse and integrity reflected in many of the recent changes to the Citizenship Act and elsewhereShe clearly has little patience for many right wing nostrums She takes Margaret Thatcher’s comment “there is no such thing as society” out of context Thatcher meant that society does not pay for government services citizens do to dismiss the conservative focus on individualism as a “simple view suited to simple minds”She lambastes “blinkered self interest” in relation to climate change finding consensus is drowned out by the “polarizing din of right versus left politics” Cabinet ministers no longer accept responsibility for wrongdoing or incompetence under their watch Exclusion of health care for refugee claimants means “violating our own values undermining our own decency and ultimately working against our own well being”As some critics have observed Clarkson largely skirts the hard issues that face Canadian citizenship and multiculturalism whether this is ongoing barriers for some new Canadians ongoing debates over reasonable accommodation or the small but disturbing number of Canadians being radicalized as recent events have borne outBut she makes the important point in that accepting Canadian citizenship we accept both the good and the bad of our history that we cannot simply choose as in a “buffet” She cites a number of the less than glorious aspects of our past from treatment of Aboriginal peoples to immigration restrictionsIn this sense she is balanced than many critics of citizenship and multiculturalism eg Neil Bissoondath Salim Mansour Gilles Pauet who often portray the Canadian approach as hopelessly politically correct and divisiveBut it does seem particularly Canadian that many writers on citizenship either see the glass half full or half empty rather than acknowledging that while overall we have one of the world’s most successful multicultural societies by any measure there remain as is natural serious challenges to addressClarkson is strongest in her distinction between friendship and citizenship We do not need to like or love our fellow citizens But we have to respect them and engage with themHer praise for what the Aga Khan calls a “cosmopolitan ethic” where we need to continuously engage in conversations with those of different backgrounds loyalties religions and ethnicities further reinforces this need for ongoing dialogue and understanding in a complex multicultural society such as CanadaBelonging The Paradox of Citizenship provides a welcome antidote to so much of the excessive fretting that occurs around Canadian citizenship and multiculturalismBut Clarkson’s reliance on behaving “as if” things are working well wishing it were so can be as risky as the alternate “as if” that Canadian citizenship and multiculturalism are not workingCertainly compared to most countries we have been remarkably successful Political differences are at the margins we have no political parties opposed to immigration and all political parties actively pursue ethnic community votesBut we do have serious challenges from the perspective of euity discrimination and representationBy provoking discussion implicitly on what kind of “as if” we should employ to help shape the ongoing evolution of Canadian society Clarkson has posed the fundamental uestion on what kind of Canada we want and how we should behave to help it come into being


  3. H Wesselius H Wesselius says:

    Not the best Massey lecture but still a decent read Clarkson explores the idea of citizenship both now and in the past Although she reviews different ideas about citizenship she spends most of the time describing what it means in the context of Canadian citizenship She rightly views it as an idea or concept unlike other nationalities which emphasize ethnicity and land However her Canadian ideal is not the same as Stephen Harper and her ilk rather its the inclusive vision promoted by the Canadian intelligentsia such as her husband John Ralston Saul in his book The Siamese Twin I happen to agree but her book assumes this ideal with a lot less evidence than Saul's book which anchors the Canadian ideal in historical context If you read Belonging and are skeptical of her view of Canadian citizenship look to the Siamese Twin for the evidence


  4. Davytron Davytron says:

    Repetitive and sort of incoherent in its structure but still interesting and at times supremely elegant She's very thoughtful but does seem a bit too trusting of the political system and its players to come across as entirely credible when making global statements about Canadians and citizenship


  5. Peter A Peter A says:

    Adrienne Clarkson was a Governor General of Canada 1999 – 2005 ie the head of state One of the responsibilities of the Governor General is to “Bring Canadians Together” meaning “promoting national identity by supporting and promoting Canadian values diversity inclusion culture and heritage” As an immigrant from Hong Kong at a young age the concept of integrating into society that of belonging is very personal to the author This book captures the five lectures of the CBC Massey Lecture Series from August 3 to August 31 2015 from five different locations in Canada The lectures chapters explore the concept of belonging for an individual that she defines as the interdependence of cooperation sharing and balancing relationships with others Put another way the lectures explore the relationship between the individual and the society within that individual lives and in the relationship the balance between the one and the Others in societyIn crafting the lectures the author weaves in stories from many places in the world and thoughts such as “Ubuntu” a concept that “emphasizes our connectedness with each other in the past present and the future” And she also emphasizes the uniue Canadian experience drawing upon the First National peoples and their thinking along with the immigration that has happened in Canada from Europe and elsewhere She cites information that shows that what Canada has been doing has brought together a consensus about key ideas of becoming Canadian citizens euality of women and men following laws acceptance of diversity voting and protection of the environment p131 lecture 4 Ubuntu Later she states that “a public education is the single most valuable institution that our society provides to help people belong Without public education we cannot have a cohesive society a society with share values”She concludes her lectures by addressing the subtitle of the book “What is the paradox of citizenship? It is that we are most fully human most truly ourselves must authentically individual when we commit to the community It is in the mirror of our community – the street the neighbourhood the town the country – that we find our best selves”I originally purchased this book at the end of the GLEON 16 Meeting in Orford Canada waiting for the plane at the Montreal airport What made me purchase the book? Perhaps it was that I was in Canada and it would be good to read something I would likely only find in Canada I do like to purchase books in other countries when I travel Why this one? It does focus on the Canadian model for immigration and the larger trend of increasing movements of people in today’s world Also it is likely that having come from a GLEON meeting that had people from many different parts of the world that I was receptive to the book’s concept of creating unity of purpose among diversityBut why wait so long to read it? I just finished Friedman’s new book Thank You for Being Late Issues that he raises about the community he grew up in the need to be open to new ideas prompted me to return to this relatively short book As Friedman talks about the need for leadership Canada seems to have a model that is prepared to address the challenges Friedman talks about especially in how it welcomes and sees immigrants as new citizens This sense of belonging leads to trust in institutions and society a critical element that has been leaching away from the US societal ethicI suspect there will be many who disagree with the “soft” approach discussed by the author However there is a basic humanity to her writing and focusing on the balance for a society to have between the individual and the group is going to be a defining one for this coming generation The topic is so timely and the approach every engaging For information about GLEON see If you have not traveled to Canada you might consider doing so There is a different approach to live and interacting with others When I flew into the country I was asked by immigration where I was going When I said that it was to Orford I got asked where? I said to Lake Stukley in Mont Orford National Park Why? I felt I was being interrogated – he had not yet given me back my passport I stated I was going to a workshop on lakes What is your specialty? After some back on forth he guess be believed me but part of his motivation was to indicate that his uncle was a limnologist who had studied on that lake which I thought was very interestingAnother interesting concept in Chapter Five is Gross National Happiness which she proposes depends on four attributes generosity; ethics; patience or tolerance; and perseverance


  6. Sue Blanchard Sue Blanchard says:

    Unlike authors who lament the perils and threats of immigration Adrienne Clarkson Canada's 26 Governor General believes migration is part and parcel of the order of things She writes Never has the world experienced a greater movement of peoples from one country to another from one continent to another These seismic shifts in population have brought about huge challenges for all societies Clarkson writes about the need for greater acceptance She talks about indigenous groups worldwide and asks Who belongs and How can one prove belonging? She concludes that a sense of belonging is forged through connection not factors surrounding one's homeland and birth placeI'd like to see Canada's Ms Clarkson and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau read The Strange Death of Europe Immigration Identity Islam a book by Douglas Murray © 2017 Europe is how Canada could look in 10 years dipping birth rates mass immigration massive crime no cultural identity and citizens who fear of the regular attacks of terrorism Maybe Trump is right keep the nationalities who are high on the corruption index at home What do you think?


  7. Jerry Wall Jerry Wall says:

    Belonging to a community a group a state a nation this book discusses this from the comfort andexperiences of Canada A country can welcome immigrants or build barriers or walls Canada likes to think they are welcoming and hospitableA small village in France in the middle ages is the first exemplar of setting up a village for those who belong there telling of their circumstances and struggles to start a new belonging villagePericles in Greek times Pelopponesian War is spotlighted with his speech on struggles with outsiders barbarians and what it took to be a part of the group to belongShe also discusses the Ubuntu principle from South Africa and the Mandela principle of forgiveness and the Bhutan image with its Gross Domestic Happiness and striving to have a society where all are happy


  8. Samantha Samantha says:

    Adrienne Clarkson is a fantastic writer and I think this is a read we all need right now I wonder if all of CBC Massey Lecture series are available through podcast I think it would have been better digested in audio


  9. Jean Jean says:

    Packed full of interesting information facts and references Refreshingly altruistic


  10. Edwin Lang Edwin Lang says:

    This book comprises a series of lectures presented in 2014 as part of the CBC Radio Ideas’ annual Massey Lectures CBC being Canada’s National media radio TV was a first person account of belonging to Canada as a former immigrant In this Adrienne Clarkson from her viewpoint as a success provided an overview of what citizenship means from a wide array of perspectives including Canada’s Her primary focus though was on immigrants and Aboriginals The approach appealed to me because living and working in Toronto I feel like a direct recipient of immigration – on the ground level on the front lines – and overall I like what I see and all that to which these massive waves of immigration has exposed me I got the impression though that Ms Clarkson approached the subject from the perspective of both privilege and entitlement From the microcosm from where I live or work where my neighbour comprises people from nearly every country from the planet it’s a wonderful smorgasbord of nationalities diversity religions and cultures As I am an extreme and relatively friendly dog walker the experience of this wild diversity scintillates and makes going out among my neighbours a real pleasure Most people I meet work hard are family oriented display pride in who they are and what they have and are generally nice they might rate fairly high on Clarkson’s Gross National Happiness exemplifying the four principles of generosity ethical behaviour tolerance and perseverance Adrienne Clarkson also seems to dislike whites seems to blame us for a lot Until our company came out with a Diversity program I hardly thought of the differences in people’s nationalities or cultures I seemed perhaps naively colour blind and dealt with people as people I’ll explain where Clarkson gets it hilariously wrong through a personal anecdote I rented a home in Montreal one time from a guy who and his family were from Guyana He’d come over from time to time as expected to check out the house and one time noted with considerable disparagement that our next door neighbour was black At the time it shocked me to the core because I thought only whites were guilty of this kind of racial prejudice Or so we are told so people like Adrienne Clarkson might have us believe So here we had this fellow recently immigrated from Guyana harbouring deep misgivings about his neighbours based on the slightly darker colour of the skin of his neighbourOverall I thought though her treatment of the subject uneven and presented it as a scan of ideas than a coherent presentation culminating in a reflection on what Belonging meant for Canadians or actually anyone living in a Western style democracy in which participatory citizen was a key component for example one thing absent in her analysis is the problem of critical mass and its potentially debilitating and undermining effect it has on democracy and citizenship What does it take to belong in a Nation such as Canada? We tend to think in terms of great things like Canadian citizen Islamists going off to join ISIS for a little while and for some pleasurable guilt free killing of innocents as a clear example of individuals who probably don’t ualify for citizenship But what about those for whom stop signs and stale yellow lights are simply suggestions and running reds is acceptable because that’s what we did in our hometown or taxes as being something to avoid at all costs because our god is money or the idea of joining the armed forces as an absolutely unthinkable activity I believe a country like Canada has some intrinsic non negotiable value The US’ might be individualistic freedom the French might be secular liberty and euality – sometimes I think for Canada its simply being strong and nice stepping out and standing up for anyone in need or as one French General said being generous of heart noble and magnanimous of spirit People like Jean Vanier St Margaret Bourgeois are the patron saints the models for all we aspire for Edwin


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