PROFile: Forming social cohesion from diversity

FĂ©lix Mathieu, assistant professor, Department of Political Science

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As a Quebec native, Félix Mathieu has firsthand experience being part of a minority population within a country. This perspective helped pique his interest in researching pluralism policies.

“Pluralism,” Mathieu explains, “is the political theory of how to best manage and achieve unity within a diverse society.”

Mathieu was born in Sherbrooke, Que. but grew up in a Montreal suburb. He attended Laval University in Quebec City before returning to Montreal for his PhD in political science.

While working on his undergraduate studies, Mathieu began following the Bouchard-Taylor Commission, created in 2007 by Quebec premier Jean Charest.

The commission debated the principle of reasonable accommodation, which dealt with the homogeneous majority population in Quebec’s lack of openness toward religious and cultural minorities.

Mathieu’s research on pluralism informed his master’s thesis, which was published as a book. Printed in French, the book was awarded the 2018 National Book Prize by the National Assembly of Québec. A revised and updated English version is coming in July 2022.

Having researched other countries’ management of inter- and multiculturalism, including the United Kingdom, Mathieu came to a conclusion.

“When possible, you need to empower these differences to build up a form of togetherness that is open to diversity but also to favour some form of social cohesion,” Mathieu says.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

“I have been skateboarding for 20-plus years now. During summertime, I can be found at the skatepark several times a week.”

What was your worst grade in University?

“B- in my Advanced English III course while completing my undergraduate studies at the Université Laval.”

What do you like most about Winnipeg?

“The arts and cultural scene. I love how many galleries, cafés, museums and coops there are in Winnipeg that promote local artists and artisans. I recently bought a stunning piece at the Pulse Gallery from local artist Kathleen Crosby, and I am looking forward to discovering more and more similar artists.”

Published in Volume 76, Number 21 of The Uniter (March 17, 2022)

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