Defying Conventional Wisdom: Political Movements and Popular Contention Against North American Free Trade

By Jeffrey Ayres

© 1998

This book offers a crisp and thoughtful account of political phenomena still fresh in the minds of Canadians, and with continuing relevance to policy-making processes. As the first major work on the origins, strategies, and activities of movements and coalitions that arose in Canada and spread across North America to oppose free trade, it captures an important developmental period in Canadian political life.

Focusing on an analysis of the Action Canada Network, Jeffrey Ayres adopts a political-process model to link the emergence of popular sector movements and transnational networks to constraints posed by the Canada-US FTA and NAFTA. His extensive use of popular writings and interviews highlights the personal reflections of coalition members and provides an intimate perspective on their strategies and actions. As a contribution both to the study of recent developments in Canadian politics and to our understanding of emerging transnational contention in North America, Defying Conventional Wisdom will appeal to readers across a wide spectrum of interests and backgrounds.

University of Toronto Press gratefully acknowledges that this book was sponsored in part by the Association for Canadian Studies in the U.S. and by the Government of Canada.

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Comparative Political Economy and Public Policy
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 232 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
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Book Formats

SKU# SP001850

  • PUBLISHED SEP 1998

    From: $26.96

    Regular Price: $35.95

    ISBN 9780802080899
  • PUBLISHED AUG 1998

    From: $72.75

    Regular Price: $97.00

Quick Overview

The first major study on the origins, strategies, and activities of movements and coalitions in opposition to free trade that arose in Canada and spread across North America - it captures an important developmental period in Canadian political life.

Defying Conventional Wisdom: Political Movements and Popular Contention Against North American Free Trade

By Jeffrey Ayres

© 1998

This book offers a crisp and thoughtful account of political phenomena still fresh in the minds of Canadians, and with continuing relevance to policy-making processes. As the first major work on the origins, strategies, and activities of movements and coalitions that arose in Canada and spread across North America to oppose free trade, it captures an important developmental period in Canadian political life.

Focusing on an analysis of the Action Canada Network, Jeffrey Ayres adopts a political-process model to link the emergence of popular sector movements and transnational networks to constraints posed by the Canada-US FTA and NAFTA. His extensive use of popular writings and interviews highlights the personal reflections of coalition members and provides an intimate perspective on their strategies and actions. As a contribution both to the study of recent developments in Canadian politics and to our understanding of emerging transnational contention in North America, Defying Conventional Wisdom will appeal to readers across a wide spectrum of interests and backgrounds.

University of Toronto Press gratefully acknowledges that this book was sponsored in part by the Association for Canadian Studies in the U.S. and by the Government of Canada.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Comparative Political Economy and Public Policy
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 232 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    'For students of Canadian politics, this is one of the few books that analyzes free trade politics in terms of the dynamic interplay between the so-called popular sector and the governing institutions, the state, and other social and political actors... Ayres has made a major contribution in advancing our thinking about social movements, and his discussion of "transnational and popular democracy" makes this book very useful for scholars interested in collective campaigns that transcend national borders.'


    The Journal of Politics

    'Ayres provides a theoretically informed, and empirically grounded account of the coalition against free trade and manages to do so in a readable and lively fashion.'


    Stephen McBride, author of the award winning Not Working: State, Unemployment, and Neo-Conservatism in Canada

    'This is an important book by a talented young scholar. Ayres demonstrates how new actors, using unconventional repertoires of action, are changing the Canadian political scene. As the same time, he adds to the lively field of social movement theory by his integrative approach.'


    Mildred A. Schwartz, University of Illinois at Chicago

    'Defying Conventional Wisdom provides a crisp and thoughtful account of political phenomena still fresh in the memories of the Canadian public, relevant to ongoing policy-making processes and available to be mined for insights as various scholarly debates continue.'


    Robert Everett, York University

    'Jeffrey Ayres's new book does the unlikely: It employs social movement theory to explicate the emergence and dynamics of an anti-NAFTA movement in Canada. Explaining this fascinating movement with skill and despatch, Ayres offers useful amendments to the theory he uses and reveals both the originality and the diffusion of Canadian opposition to North American economic integration. Both Canadians and their neighbors will do well to reflect upon both the story he tells and his superb way of telling it.'


    Sidney Tarrow, Cornell University
  • Author Information

    Jeffrey Ayres is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont.

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