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A people's commission?: high modernism, direct democracy, and the Royal Commission on Agriculture and Rural Life, 1952-1957

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
This thesis examines the public’s role in the Royal Commission on Agriculture and Rural Life (RCARL), which took place in Saskatchewan between 1952 and 1957. The RCARL’s purpose was to restructure rural society and agriculture in a way that would allow it to flourish in the modern future. This thesis argues that the tension between the competing philosophies of direct democracy and high modernism influenced public participation in the Commission. Although the commissioners attempted to involve rural people in the RCARL process, the influence of high modernism, which relied on science and objectivity, ultimately led the commissioners to limit the influence of public concerns and recommendations. Through an analysis of the RCARL’s structure as well as the way in which rural people experienced participation, it is clear that although many of Saskatchewan’s residents felt involved in the RCARL, their influence on the commissioners’ recommendations was limited.
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Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Kelm, Mary-Ellen
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