Sociology Index


Metropolis-hinterland theory predicts that closer ties to the mainstream economy will retard the development of a peripheral economy.The metropolis-hinterland paradigm has generally been applied to the relationship between Great Britain and its New World colonies. Toronto region, was seen as the metropolis to a vast Canadian hinterland and the United States has been seen as the metropolis for a Canadian hinterland. Metropolis-hinterland theory of social and economic development examines how economically advanced societies, through trade and colonialism, distort and retard the economic development of less developed societies and regions.

Metropolis-hinterland theory is also called Metropolis-hinterland thesis or Centre-Periphery Thesis. The Metropolitan-Hinterland theory of social and economic development, developed by Canadian historian Harold Adam Innis. Under the Metropolis-hinterland theory, the western Canadian provinces, like Alberta, Saskatchewan, are a hinterland to the political and economic forces of central Canada, like Ontario and Quebec.

A metropolis is identified as the centre of political and economic power, as having a more advanced labour market, more skilled and educated workers, an abundance of value-added production, higher standard of living, etc. A hinterland would be less able to withstand the political and economic interference of the metropolis, would have an abundance of resource extraction industries, fewer skilled and educated workers, a lower standard of living and in many ways would emulate the culture of the metropolis.

From the Hinterland - Melanee Thomas.

I never bought into the Metropolis-Hinterland theory of political organization until I ran as an NDP candidate in my home city of Lethbridge during the 2004 federal election.

Within Metropolis-Hinterland theory, the Metropolis is viewed as an area of privilege with high political priorities, whereas the Hinterland consists of regions where political issues are ignored by the political elite.

Large urban centres are traditionally seen to be the Metropolis and rural areas are the Hinterland. When I first read Metropolis-Hinterland theory, I thought it lacked insight and did little to explain Canadian politics. After my campaign experience, I have changed my conclusion.

The Metropolis-Hinterland theory does, in fact, shed light on how all political parties view this province, and how little people from Alberta understand our political culture.