Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Anglo-Conformity in Winnipeg: An Update

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Anglo-Conformity in Winnipeg: An Update

Article excerpt


This paper updates Goldstein's (1981) study of changes in the popularity of the ideology of anglo-conformity in the Winnipeg metropolitan area during the period 1881 to 1979. Using the ethnic origins of individuals for whom public schools in Winnipeg had been named as an indicator of the strength of anglo-conformity, Goldstein found evidence that anglo-conformity had weakened slightly beginning in the 1950s. This paper examines school naming events (SNEs) that occured in Winnipeg from 1980 to 1997. During the 1980s and 1990s there was little change in the ethnic character of SNEs: a substantial majority of SNEs involved persons of Anglo-Saxon origin, and Anglo-Saxons continued to be highly over-represented in SNEs relative to their share of the population. These findings suggest that anglo-conformity continues to affect ethnic relations in Winnipeg as the 20th Century draws to a close.

Cette communication met 'a jour l'etude de Goldstein (1981) des changements subis par la popularite de l'ideologie de l'angloconformite dans la zone metropolitaine de Winnipeg durant la periode s'etendant de 1881 a 1979. Par l'utilisation des origines ethniques des personnes dont les noms avaient ete donnes aux ecoles publiques de Winnipeg comme indicateur de la force de l'angloconformite, Goldstein a constate que l'angloconformite s etait affaiblie legerement a partir des annees 1950. Cette communication examine les cas de designations d'ecole qui se sont deroules a Winnipeg entre 1980 et 1997. Au cours des annees 1980 et 1990, il y a eu peu de changement dans le caractere ethnique des noms des ecoles: la majorite des designations d'ecoles mettait en cause des personnes d'origine anglo-saxonne, et les Anglo-Saxons ont continue d'etre grandement surrepresentes dans les designations d'ecoles par rapport a leur part de la population. Ces conclusions laissent entendre que l'angloconformite continue d'influencer les relations ethniques a Winnipeg alors que le 200 siecle touche a sa fin.


This paper updates Goldstein's (1981) study which tested the proposition that there had been a decline in the popularity of the anglo-conformity model of assimilation in Canada. (1) In that study, the ethnic origin of persons or families for whom public schools had been named was the indicator of the acceptance of anglo-conformity. The use of this indicator was based on two premises. First, that the public school system is a very important agent in the transmission of conventional norms and values to youth. Second, that the decision to attach the name of an individual to a public school building reflects a perception that the achieved and/or ascribed characteristics (including ethnicity) of that person are consistent with the conventional norms and values the public school system transmits.

It was assumed that the proportion of Anglo-Saxons among persons for whom public schools are named varies directly with the strength of the ideology of anglo-conformity. When anglo-conformity is the dominant ethnic ideology, having British Isles ancestry will be one of the criteria (implicit or explicit) used in the selection of persons after whom to name a public school. If anglo-conformity weakens, the possession of Anglo-Saxon "credentials" will become less important in school naming decisions. An examination of historical trends in the ethnic origins of persons for whom public schools in a community are named will provide an insight into any changes which may have occured in the influence of anglo-conformity.

Briefly, the methodology of the original study was as follows. Data on school naming events (SNEs) were gathered from the eleven school divisions with schools in the Winnipeg metropolitan area. A total of 148 SNEs involving persons or families had occured from 1881-1979. For each event, a categorization of the person's ethnic origin (as Anglo-Saxon, French, or Other) was made on the basis of information furnished by school division staff and school principals, along with information contained in biographical and historical reference works. …

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