Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

“Words apart”: Performing linguistic and cultural identities in Chéticamp, Nova Scotia

Erna MacLeod, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Globalizing processes of late capitalism shape local cultures in complex and contradictory ways, exacerbating assimilation and alienation in geographically and culturally marginalized communities and, paradoxically, empowering disenfranchised groups by facilitating communication between diasporic populations and providing access to information, images, and commodities. This dissertation explores the ways in which linguistic difference, geographic isolation, and cultural marginalization have contributed to collective consciousness and feelings of distinctiveness in Chéticamp, an Acadian community in rural Nova Scotia, Canada. I examine forms of cultural work—such as genealogical research, community museums, and cooperative associations—as cultural performances in which community members envision and enact their Acadian identities. Performed identities are inauthentic in the sense that they are actively negotiated and subject to ongoing adaptation and transformation; yet they are also authentic in the sense that they are deeply felt and central to understandings of our experiences, our relationships, and our place in the world. Examining Acadian ethnic and linguistic identities through a performance lens thus illuminates possibilities for cultural survival in contexts of uncertainty and change.

Subject Area

Canadian studies|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

MacLeod, Erna, "“Words apart”: Performing linguistic and cultural identities in Chéticamp, Nova Scotia" (2008). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3315500.