Politics in North America: Redefining Continental Relations

Politics in North America: Redefining Continental Relations

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Edited by Yasmeen Abu-Laban, Radha Jhappan, and Francois Rocher
University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division © 2007
World Rights
512 Pages
ISBN 9781551116426
Published Sep 2007
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 $57.95    $49.26
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ISBN 9781442604384
Published Sep 2007
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It is no longer sufficient to examine discrete nation-states in isolation from each other. In Politics in North America: Redefining Continental Relations, prominent authors from Canada, the United States, and Mexico explore the politics of redefining the institutional, economic, geographic, and cultural boundaries of North America. The contributors argue that the study of politics in the twenty-first century requires simultaneous attention to all levels (local, national, and international) as well as, increasingly, to continents. This argument is explored through the historical and contemporary social and political forces that have created competing visions of what it means to belong to a North American political community. In this process, new debates emerge in the book concerning the appropriate role for the state, as well as the meaning of sovereignty, democracy, and rights.

Yasmeen Abu-Laban is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. The author, with Christina Gabriel, of Selling Diversity: Immigration, Multiculturalism, Employment Equity, and Globalization (University of Toronto Press, 2002), she has also written numerous articles on citizenship theory and the comparative dimensions of migration, nationalism, and identity politics.

Radha Jhappan is Associate Professor at Carleton University in the Department of Political Science. She has published in the areas of indigenous peoples' politics and law, Canadian socio-political history, constitutional law and politics, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, race and gender in feminist theory, and feminist legal theory and litigation strategies.

François Rocher is Professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa. He has held a similar position at Carleton University, where he was also director of the School of Canadian Studies. He is the co-editor, with Miriam Smith, of New Trends in Canadian Federalism (University of Toronto Press, 2003) and has extensively published on constitutional politics, intergovernmental relations, immigration, and citizenship in Canada.


Introduction, Radha Jhappan and Yasmeen Abu-Laban

Part I: History and the Politics of Defining and Redefining North America


1. The "New World": Legacies of European Colonialism in North America, Radha Jhappan

2. Nation-building and Regionalism in the US, Canada, and Mexico, Claude Couture

3. The Roots of North American Economic Development, Teresa Gutierrez-Haces

Part II: Redefining Institutional Relations: Continents, States, and Federalism 


4. The Governance of North America: NAFTA's Complex Institutional Structure, Stephen Clarkson and Roopa Rangaswami

5. Birth of a Union: Lessons for North America from the European Union, Vincent Della Sala

6. Globalization and the Democratic Deficit: Challenging Times for Canada's Political Institutions, Samuel A. Bottomley 

7. Political Institutions in the United States, Ross E. Burkhart

8. Political Institutions in Mexico, Jose A. Crespo, Norma Borrego, and Ana Luz Ruelas

9. National Institutions in North America: US, Canadian, and Mexican Federalism, François Rocher and Gordon DiGiacomo

Part III: Redefining Economic and Social Relations: Public Policies and Human Rights after NAFTA


10. North American First Peoples: Self-Determination or Economic Development? Julian Castro-Rea and Isabel Altamirano-Jimenez

11. Default Convergence? Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in North America, David Schneiderman

12. Under Pressure: The Impasses of North American Labour Movements, Gregory Albo and Dan Crow

13. Ragged Cruelty? Social Policy Transformations in North America, Lois Harder and Marcus Taylor

14. Ten Years After: Continental Free Trade and Environmental Policy in North America, Luc Juillet

Part IV: Redefining Spatial Relations: Post 9/11 Borders, Migration, and National Security


15. Migration in North America, Yasmeen Abu-Laban

16. From the 49th Parallel to the Rí­o Grande: US Homeland Security and North American Borders, Christina Gabriel and Laura Macdonald

17. North American Security and Foreign Policy: Does a Trilateral Community Exist? Athanasios Hristoulas and Stephane Roussel

Part V: Redefining Cultural Relations: Towards a North American Community?


18. Economic Integration and North American Political Cultures, Stephen White and Neil Nevitte

19. Civil Society Organizing Under Continental Integration: The Promise and Limits of Community-Building "From Below," Jeffrey M. Ayres

20. Performing North America as Community, Janine Brodie

21. Beyond NAFTA: The Emergence and Future of North America, Robert A. Pastor

Notes on Contributors



This path-breaking, comprehensive collection establishes a new benchmark for the emerging study of transnational politics, economics, and society in North America. Drawing on multiple disciplines, deep historical awareness, rigorous data, and innovative analytical frameworks, the Canadian, Mexican, and US contributors paint a panoramic view of North America as an increasingly, and surprisingly, interconnected world region. Their analyses make fascinating reading and elaborate compelling new approaches to a wide array of historical, political, cultural, and economic questions.

Jefferey Sellers, University of Southern California

The intricate essence of North American politics has been resourcefully captured and explored in this book through the lens of regional and continental dynamics, an approach that is commonly referred to but hardly achieved with the political sensibility and theoretical completion as does Politics in North America.

Jose Luis Valdes-Ugalde, Director, Centro de Investigaciones sobre America del Norte, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

This is an unusual and much-needed book that views North America as a unit. It considers institutional and economic relations within Mexico, the United States, and Canada as well as political and economic relations among all three. This refreshing perspective offers new insights about all three nations as well as about the relationship among them. With respect to the US for example, it asks us to look at the US both from the outside as well as from within. The book is well-written and accessible, and there is something here for both comparativists and students of international relations. The book will be helpful to scholars as well as to graduate and undergraduate students in either field.

Leslie E. Anderson, University of Florida

Politics in North America: Redefining Continental Relations provides a comprehensive overview of the critical political and cultural issues that characterize the evolving North American relationship. It is refreshing to read the work of some scholars who are new to the field as well as that by more established analysts.

Stephen J. Randall, FRSC, Director, Institute for United States Policy Research, University of Calgary