Place, Community and Memory in Postindustrial Pointe-Saint-Charles

Type of resource
Place, Community and Memory in Postindustrial Pointe-Saint-Charles
The author notes that St. Gabriel Elementary School in Pointe-Saint-Charles became a flashpoint for intense community mobilization when it was slated for closure in 2004, 2006 and 2011. She points out that its survival speaks to Pointe-Saint-Charles’ long history of grassroots activism dating back to its nineteenth century Irish roots and industrial heritage but also recognizes that for many, saving the last English school in the Point meant saving the community itself. Through the personal narratives of four lunch ladies at St. Gabe’s – each of whom have a four-decade long association with the school – the author explores how amidst decades of deindustrialization St. Gabe’s has endured as a place of intergenerational memory and connection in the Point and which continues to symbolize community life long gone from sidewalks and balconies in the neighbourhood. This thesis also explores the meaning of community in disenfranchised neighbourhoods like the Point struggling with the long term effects of industrial decline, community abandonment and the persistent disappearance of meaningful sites of memory and collective history. I address this question first, through narratives of those who have spent most of their lives in the Point and second, through others who live outside the neighbourhood but work in local community based organizations. This study also addresses the existence of an enduring “urban underclass,” left behind and relegated to the economic and social margins during postindustrial transitions. Four institutional interviews provide an avenue to explore more deeply embedded subjective attitudes toward the community at St. Gabe’s and longstanding Anglophone community in the Point, particularly the extent to which subjective notions of class are implicated in community organizations turning away from the most in need.
Master's Thesis
Concordia University
# of Pages
Steinberg, Tanya. “Place, Community and Memory in Postindustrial Pointe-Saint-Charles.” Master’s Thesis, Concordia University, 2018.
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