Paradise

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Title Paradise: class, commuters & ethnicity in rural Ontario
Author(s) Stanley R. Barrett, Satadal Dasgupta
Date 1996
Volume 28
Issue 2
Start page 182
Abstract Barrett's Paradise is an anthropological study of social change in a rural community of southern Ontario. It revolves around three themes -- stratification, migration, and race and ethnic relations -- between the 'era of the 1950s' and the 'decade of the 1980s.' In the 1950s, Paradise was a traditional rural community characterized by ethnic and racial homogeneity with political power concentrated in the hands of a dominant upper-class elite which experienced outmigration of its young people to the urban areas in search of employment. The reversal of the direction of migration in the 1970s and 1980s, involving movement of people from urban areas to Paradise in search of affordable housing and peace and quiet of the countryside, led to changes in ethnic composition, stratification system, and power structure in the community. Paradise became highly heterogeneous in ethnic and racial composition, the middle class increased significantly in size in comparison to the upper and lower classes, and political power shifted to the hands of the growing middle class and to the legal-rational bureaucracy beyond the boundaries of the community. Barrett argues that the three apparently discrete themes form a 'tightly integrated system of social change' in that the migration of people from the city, the heterogenization of the ethnic and racial composition, and the changes in the stratification and power structures have all been generated by capitalist market forces which brought them in line with those in the city. As people from a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds arrived in Paradise, having been driven from the city by the high cost of housing and living, the old stratification system 'propped up by status' made way for 'unfettered market-oriented class relationships' (p. 32) of the Canadian society at large. Paradise thus 'joined the modern world' as it became heterogenous in ethnic and racial composition, class and ethnicity became fused in its stratification system, and the authority of decision-making affecting its community life shifted in the hands of an external bureaucracy. The book is organized into three parts.

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