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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19031

Title: Social Conservatives and the Boundary of Politics in Canada and the United States
Authors: Farney, James
Advisor: Forbes, Hugh Donald
Department: Political Science
Keywords: Conservatism
Party Politics
Social Issues
Canadian Politics
American Politics
Issue Date: 18-Feb-2010
Abstract: This dissertation investigates social conservative activism in the American Republican Party and in four parties of the Canadian right: the Progressive Conservative Party, Reform Party, Canadian Alliance Party, and Conservative Party of Canada. While issues like gay and lesbian rights and abortion became politically contentious in both countries during the late 1960s, American social conservatives emerged earlier than their Canadian counterparts and enjoyed considerably more success. Understanding this contrast explains an important part of the difference between Canadian and American politics and explicates a key aspect of modern conservatism in North America. The argument developed here focuses on different norms about the boundary of politics held in right-wing parties in the two countries. Norms are embedded components of institutions that codify the “logic of appropriateness” for actors within a given institution (March and Olsen 1989, 160) and both construct and regulate the identities of political actors (Katzentstein 1996). The recognition of norms has been an important development in organizational theory, but one that has never been applied to modern office-seeking parties (Ware 1996, Berman 1998). Qualitative case studies establish that many Republicans understood both sexuality and appeals to religion as politically legitimate throughout the period under investigation. In Canada, alternatively, Progressive Conservatives saw such questions as being inappropriate grounds for political activity. This norm restricted social conservative mobilization in the party. It was only when the Reform Party upset both the institutions and ideology of Canadian conservatism that social conservatives began to gain prominence in Canadian politics. Since then, the success of Canadian social conservatives has been limited by Canada’s political culture and institutions but they are now, as their American counterparts have long been, consistently recognized by other Canadian conservatives as partners in the conservative coalition.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19031
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Political Science - Doctoral theses

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