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The National Action Committee on the Status of Women, founded in April 1972, is an umbrella organization of women's groups in Canada dedicated to lobbying the federal government to adopt changes to enhance the position and life chances of Canadian women. NAC replaced the National Ad Hoc Committee on the Status of Women, organized in 1971 to pressure for implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women.

North American Free Trade Agreement. See: FREE TRADE / .

A word somewhat similar to society in that it includes all those persons who share common descent, language and history and close association with each other. For Canadians, the term reflects a major debate about the nature of Canada. In English, the term nation implies a community of people who have political autonomy and who occupy a distinct territory. In French, in contrast, the term is closer in meaning to a community of people sharing common origins and ties of interrelationship. Thus when French speakers refer to Quebec as a ‘nation’ they tend to mean Quebec as an historic community of people, rather than necessarily implying that Quebec is, or ought to be, completely politically autonomous and detached from Canada. It is noteworthy that Quebec refers to its legislative house as the National Assembly while other provinces use the term Legislature. There are approximately 170 nation states in the world but there are 15,000 nations in the second sense of the word.

A short lived Canadian federal political party started by nationalist publisher Mel Hurtig in 1993. The party advocated repeal of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States, increased public involvement in political decisions making and major reforms to fiscal and taxation policy. In the 1993 federal general election the party received almost 200,000 votes, but failed to win any parliamentary seats. After the election, the party was weakened by internal controversy and it ceased to be an active political force.

Associated with the second Conservative government led by Sir John A. Macdonald, elected in 1878, which imposed tariff protection from foreign manufactures. The policy was intended to promote the development of Canadian manufacturing behind a tariff wall. The term ‘National Policy’ is also used more widely to refer to the nation- building policies pursued by Macdonald's governments, including construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway and other transportation infrastructure and the promotion of immigration as a stimulus to western settlement and development.

The concept of nationalism like the concept of nation has two quite distinct meanings. Common to both definitions is the idea that it is the nation which provides people with their primary form of belonging and that these nations should be self-governing. People of the world are thus located within nations, identify with these nation states and political activity is organized around these nation states. Michael Ignatieff distinguishes two forms of nationalism. First, ‘civic nationalism’, meaning that all citizens within a nation state are treated as equal and share political values. Within this sense of nationalism one would find pluralistic communities acting as one and treating citizens with equality. It is this sense of nationalism which many thought was emerging after narrow religious and ethnic struggles of the 19th and early 20th century. The second sense of nationalism revolves around the equation of ‘people’ with the nation state. In this formulation the nation or the people exists prior to the state and in a sense creates the state. In these communities then the nation and sense of national identification flows from a common characteristic (usually ethnic heritage) and thus excludes others. This form of nationalism may be less tolerant of difference and can be found in the German nation state where citizenship continues to be defined in terms of ethnicity. The concern that nation states and thus nationalism are increasingly being organized around ethnic (or other) characteristics are frequently described as the tribalization of the modern world. Tension between the two meanings of nationalism can be found in discussions around Quebec's right to self-determination; is civic nationalism at work or is it ‘people’ nationalism? See: TRIBALISM / IDENTITY POLITICS / POSTMODERN / .

The collective or public ownership or management of economic resources. In contrast to privatization. Canada has long relied on public (or state) ownership of economic resources. In 1962 the Liberal government of Jean Lesage nationalized the hydro-electric industry in Quebec and this was an important component of the rapid economic growth and emerging sense of self-confidence that has come to be referred to as the ‘quiet revolution’ in the province. See: CROWN CORPORATION / PRIVATIZATION / .

As used by Alfred Schutz (1899-1959) refers to characteristics of the world as it is encountered by people living in it. Some of the properties of this attitude are: the world is experienced as being historically organized prior to their arrival; it is intersubjective - experienced similarly by others; people accept the world as it is given through experience; people address the world pragmatically.

The political doctrine of the National Socialist Party of Germany led by Adolf Hitler who became Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and who assumed absolute dictatorial power until the defeat of Germany in 1945 at the end of World War 11. Nazism is chiefly remembered for its ideology of racial purity and of the superiority of the so-called Aryan race. This ideology resulted in the conquest and destruction of much of Europe and its peoples and the mass murder of political opponents and those judged inferior or deviant. The greatest Nazi crimes were committed against the Jews of Europe on whom the Nazis unleashed a Holocaust of systematic mass killing, claiming six million victims, in the name of ‘racial purification’.

New Democratic Party. Successor to the CCF, the New Democratic Party was formed in 1961 to widen the appeal and broaden the organization of Canadian social democracy. It combined the old CCF with Canada's labour union movement and various social democratic organizations. Like its predecessor, the new party has had limited success in federal politics, although it has exercised considerable influence especially over the policies of the Liberal Party. The party had its greatest impact on federal politics in the years 1972-1974 when the minority Liberal government was dependent on it for parliamentary support. In provincial politics, the party has been much more successful and has formed governments in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, British Columbia and Ontario.

In thinking about or looking for a causal relationship researchers have to decide if they are dealing with a necessary condition. A necessary condition (or variable) is that which must be present for the effect to occur. To put it another way, if B appears then A must have been present. Social sciences seldom deal with necessary conditions (other than logical ones), rather they are happy to find sufficient conditions.

Refers to the fact that authorities and offenders against the law are involved in an interactive process of defining criminality. Police or judges may ask: Was the offence intentional? Is the person who committed it someone who requires control from the criminal justice system? Is it important to deter them from further potential crime or is repetition unlikely? The behavior of the offender in interaction with police and judges will shape what label, if any, will be applied to the situation. Thus defining criminal status is an interactive process involving participants in interpretation and negotiation.

A resurgence of economic and political beliefs associated with classical liberalism of the early 19th century. Should correctly be called neo-liberalism. Aspects of this philosophy include: acceptance of an unregulated market economy; a minimal role for government; suspicion toward the welfare state; a view of citizens as motivated only by self-interest; a commitment to the central value of individualism. See: CLASSICAL LIBERALISM / .

See neo-conservatism.

The custom of a newly married couple setting up a new residence independent of the households of either partner's parents.

Within critical criminology this term is used to describe the effects of providing alternatives to incarceration or diversion programs to direct offenders away from court. While all of these programs developed since the late 1960's were intended to reduce the numbers of offenders in prison or reduce the numbers going to court, it has been found that what has happened instead is that the total numbers of offenders under the control of the state have increased while the population targeted for reduction has not been reduced. In short, the net of social control has been thrown more widely (or some might say the mesh has been made smaller). See: CRIME NET / .

When Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president of the United States in 1932 he said: ‘I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people.’ The new deal refers to the unprecedented government initiatives to stimulate industrial recovery from 1933 to 1939. These new programs and reforms of programs were designed to assist victims of the depression, to guarantee minimal standards of living, to provide financial stability for citizens and to create employment and economic growth. For example, the Social SECURITY Act of 1935 set up a system of old-age pensions and unemployment insurance. This period can be seen as the beginnings of the welfare state in the United States. See: WELFARE STATE / .

See levels of measurement.


A culturally established rule prescribing appropriate social behaviour. Norms are relatively specific and precise and elaborate the detailed behavioural requirements that flow from more general and overarching social values . For example, it is a value in Western society that one should respect the dead, it is a norm that one should dress in dark colours for a funeral. See: VALUES / .


Like the Red River Rebellion of 1869-70, the Northwest Rebellion was led by Louis Riel and the grievance of the settlers and Metis (of what is now Saskatchewan) were much the same. Demands were for democratic control of the region and for the protection of land, religious and language rights. The decade between the two rebellions, however, saw the English of Ontario transform the image of Riel into that of a traitor and stiffened their resolve to ensure that the West not become an extension of the French-speaking province of Quebec. Military and police strength had also been established and the railroad provided transportation for this colonial enforcement arm. The Metis were quickly suppressed and Riel was hanged in Regina on November 15, 1885. The Metis people prefer to refer to this incident as an act of resistance rather than a rebellion. See: METIS / RED RIVER REBELLION / .

In 1974 authors D. Lipton, Robert Martinson and J. Wilks, using ‘meta-analysis’, assessed all the evaluations of criminal rehabilitation programs between 1945 and 1967. They reached the following conclusion: ‘With few and isolated exceptions, the rehabilitative efforts that have been reported so far have had no appreciable effect on recidivism’. The results of this assessment convinced them that not much seems to work and one program did not seem more effective than another. Robert Martinson made this conclusion available much more widely when he published a short piece in the Public Interest, (a liberal magazine begun in New York in 1965) asserting that ‘nothing works’ and the phrase has been associated with his name since. In a 1978 publication he admitted that they had left out of their study some pieces of research which may have shown rehabilitation to be more effective than they had publicly stated. This phrase ‘nothing works’, however, became the mantra of those opposed to rehabilitation and had some influence in moving the public away from liberal programs of rehabilitation and towards retribution or deterrence as justifications for punishment.

See family, nuclear.

When testing a research hypothesis, which the researcher has good reason to believe is true, it is customary to use a null hypothesis. This is typically a hypothesis of no difference or of no association between variables. If the research hypothesis is that men have a higher rate of suicide than do women, the null hypothesis would be that there is no difference in suicide rates between men and women. Researcher then try to disprove the null hypothesis and if they fail to reject it, they accept the research hypothesis. See: FALSIFIABILITY (OR REFUTABILITY) / .

Treaties had been signed with many Native groups in Eastern Canada prior to confederation. With Confederation in 1867 and the purchase of lands from the Hudson Bay Company, Canada assumed responsibility for the Natives of Western Canada and beginning in the 1870s negotiations were begun with Native groups. These negotiations resulted in treaties which were numbered, and are still known by those numbers. The total number eventually reached 11.

A tribunal established in the German city of Nuremberg by Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the United States, to bring to trial those war criminals whose actions during the Second World War were deemed to be international crimes against humanity. Many were brought to trial and some sentenced to death. Another tribunal was established in Japan to try Japanese war criminals. Other nations brought to trial those thought to be guilty of war crimes against citizens of one nation. Israel, for example, brought Adolf Eichmann, a major figure in the organization of the Holocaust, to trial in 1960, found him guilty and he was hanged. See: WAR CRIMES / .

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Athabaca University ICAAP

© Robert Drislane, Ph.D. and Gary Parkinson, Ph.D.
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*This social science dictionary has 1000
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