Walmsley, C., & Kading, T. (Eds.). (2018). Small cities, big issues: Reconceiving community in a neoliberal era. Edmonton, Canada: Athabasca University.

Shelina Adatia


As the title suggests, the book Small cities, big issues: Reconceiving community in a neoliberal era takes a critical look at the complex social issues facing small Canadian cities – namely, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo and Prince George. Part one presents a reflection of displacement, isolation and Othering, echoing a dominant discourse of diversity as deficiency through communal responses to a variety of issues – specifically, homelessness, the street sex trade, illicit drug use, queerness, deinstitutionalization, the reintegration of parolees and finally, decolonization. While at first glance these issues may appear to be drastically different, they are in fact intimately connected by both the responses they elicit and the actions they can inspire. Individually and collectively, part one is a call to all Canadians – those who are typically silenced and those who are members of institutions, community groups and all levels of government – to collaboratively reframe our notion of community. In doing so, we commit to ensuring that each one of us, regardless of our differences, feels valued and included – a True North reflection of diversity as strength. Part two focuses on how we can build such inclusive communities by encouraging us to reflect on our social policies and our social responsibilities – thus calling into question the myth of Canada as fair and just. In essence, it is no longer enough to simply talk the talk of social inclusion, we must also walk the walk.

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