Sex in the Snow : Canadian Social Values at the End of the Millennium

by Michael Adams

Book cover for Sex in the Snow : Canadian Social Values at the End of the Millennium


When Sex in the Snow first appeared 10 years ago, it broke new ground by boldly sketching the changing psychological landscape of Canada. It showed that values can be even more important than demographic traits when it comes to how people behave as citizens, consumers, employees, parents, friends, and spiritual beings. Rather than being defined by their religion, age, gender, and ethnic background, Canadians were embracing postmodern values that cut across those categories. Using data from his extensive, innovative polls, Adams argued that the changing postures of Canadians had been shaped by three major quests: for personal autonomy, for pleasure, and for spiritual fulfillment.

A decade later, Adams finds that, remarkably, Canadians still pursue those same values in ever-greater numbers. Our attitudes about gender and family, once informed by rigid religious codes, are ever more heavily driven by values of autonomy and fulfillment—the belief that people should be able to choose the family arrangements that work best for them in both practical and emotional terms. Flexibility and openness to diversity have also persisted in ethno-cultural matters, as 1.5 million immigrants arrived in Canada since 1997. Canadians continue to endorse the coexistence of people of diverse backgrounds and cultural fusion that seeks to savour and explore—not eliminate—differences across races and heritages. Ten years later, Sex in the Snow remains a unique portrait of what it means to be Canadian.

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