Seeking social services on the Gaspé Coast: a narrative analysis of anglophones’ experiences of access and care




Finlayson, Sarah

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This research addresses the concern that Anglophone populations in the predominantly French speaking Gaspé region of eastern Québec are experiencing high rates of social problems such as poverty and unemployment. Anglophones in this region, as in other rural regions of Québec, have identified facing difficulties related to access to social services, an aspect which further complicates existing social problems. Using a narrative methodology and post structural, feminist and intersectional lenses, this research explores the experiences of English speaking service users in accessing and engaging with social services on the Gaspé coast. This study also explores the boundaries and reproduction of linguistic categories and identity and offers insight into resisting dominant discourses pertaining to linguistic difference in Québec, specifically within the context of social services. The results of this research demonstrate that service users’ experiences were characterised by disproportionately negative effects in regards to service access and delivery such as intensified logistical problems and social work practice related weaknesses. The research also concludes that experiences involved multiple, intersecting problems, which were irreducible to the singular dimension of language. The intersections of language and race, language and class, and language and ability were raised as critical concerns in terms of access to social services on the Gaspé coast. Finally, the encounters between Anglophones and Francophones in the context of health and social services in the region were found to be entangled and inseparable from the historical and ongoing political struggles over language on this territory.



social services, access to services, Anglophones, intersectional analysis, narrative methodology, Gaspe coast