Proposer une nouvelle interprétation historique de la Révolution tranquille en portant un regard sur l’importance de la religion catholique dans le processus de modernisation et de libéralisation du Québec, à travers la transformation de l’institution au cœur de la culture québécoise : la famille.
« Was the type of Catholicism promoted within the Catholic Action movement a bulwark of tradition, or was it a significant factor in the dynamic entry of modern cultural values into Quebec society? Was Catholicism, as both ’liberal’ and ’revisionist’ historiographies suggest, simply marginal to the formation of a modern urban society in Quebec and to the building of modern ideas of the state, or did it offer access to a range of more dynamic, democratic social identities? And if ’modernity’ as a cultural phenomenon is to be understood as a search for authenticity and intensity of experience, and as a sense of profound rupture with the past, given the pervasive nature of Catholicism in Quebec’s public life and social values before 1960, should not historians look to religion, and in particular to transformation within Roman Catholicism itself, in order to examine the changes that helped define a series of ’modern’ values in the public ideologies and personal identities of youth, masculinity, femininity and family? » (pp. 9-10)
« The principal source for this study is the records generated from the 1930s to the 1960s by a number of Catholic Action lay organizations. The main collection, the Fonds Action Catholique Canadienne was found as the Archives de l’Université de Montréal. » (p. 10) The author also used sources such as « Le Devoir», la « Revue Dominicaine », « Maintenant » et « Relation »; as well as Quebec’s Royal Commission on Education, found at the Fonds Paul Larocque.
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« The Catholic Origins of Quebec’s Quiet Revolution challenges a version of history central to modern Quebec’s understanding of itself: that the Quiet Revolution began in the 1960s as a secular vision of state and society which rapidly displaced an obsolete, clericalized Catholicism. Michael Gauvreau argues that organizations such as Catholic youth movements played a central role in formulating the Catholic ideology underlying the Quiet Revolution and that ordinary Quebecers experienced the Quiet Revolution primarily through a series of transformations in the expression of their Catholic identity. Gauvreau offers a new understanding of Catholicism’s place in twentieth-century Quebec. Catholicism emerges as an institution increasingly dominated by the priorities of lay people and as the central force in Quebec’s cultural transformation during the mid-twentieth century. He shows that the Church espoused a particularly radical understanding of modernity between the 1930s and the 1960s, especially in the areas of youth, gender identities, marriage, and family. » (quatrième de couverture)