POLI 222 Lecture 6: Nationalism and Federalism in Canada

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Nationalism and Federalism in Canada 18:08
-how do we amend our constitution?
It is embedded within the rule, to change the rule… different visions of how
Canada is constituted
Ambiguous, because arguably our rules… incorporate different visions about
who we are so if you like clarity and certainty you should not be studying
Canadian politics.
Constitutional ambiguity gives us wiggle room in order to live together and
diverse people to coexist.
In the absence of any formal text saying that you can secede, the secession
of a province is a massive amendment to the constitution but there is no
text to ground the decision of the supreme court.
The story that the court tells us in the reference and the answers they give,
we can think about nationalism and federalism together.
The aboriginal challenge: layered, one-dimensional story about a
constitutional structure and a different story that some aboriginal people in
the country say.
Nationalism
1)Nationalism: huge literature:
what is a nation? Nationalism exists but nations do not
ernest renan 1882
benedict andersons imagend community.
There is no consensus, there is various definitions of nationalism
Different ways of imagining the nation:
Ethnic nationalism
Civic/ideological nationalism
Challenges
Defining what a nation is? There is actually no definitive or objective or
scientific imperical definition of a nation. In terms of establishing a concept
that is shared by everyone, that is a problem. The reality is that it is not ab
objective phenomena.
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Despite what it claims- the discourse of nation as a important political idea,
is a relatively modern concept. The contradiction is that it is a modern call to
arms for politics, those who adopt the mantal of nationalism, they justify the
political claims out of it on the basis of a link to the past.
The link to the past is asserted but usually contestable and often
contradictory.
No coherent or scientific category
Philosophers of nationalism:
1)French scholar Renaun(1882)”what is a nation”: a nation is a soul, a
spiritual principal- two things constitute it:
one lies in the past/one in present
one is rich legacy of memories
present day concent-desire to live together, and perpetuate the value of the
heritage
a nation is held together by a set of memories about something but there is
no intrinsic characterization of what those memories are, but there is always
a link back to events of the past
either salutatory events that define the nation in a positive light or events
that the nation use to contrast itself against
a past and a present- the will to live together, a ongoing consent
the nation is forged or justified with respect to memorys of the past but
continues because people in the present agree that it has some value
it is a large scale solidarity
tangeable fact of consent
its existence is a daily thing
nations are primarily about the political will to live together in the here and
now, using justifications about the past.
2)Benedict Anderson(renouned work for idea of a nation fundamentally as a
imagined community):
renaun talks about memories, benedict talks about imagination
an imagined political community that is both limited and solid
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nation building is a process of human creation, it is a imaginative interprise
and the fundamental distinctions of nations is how they imagined themselves
to be distinct
imagined to be fundamental differences which may not actually be there in
some objective way
we understand there to be a point of departure
different ramifications of understanding nationalism
if it is creative and imaginative, there is always a promise of renewal
we can imagine ourselves to be different but still be a nation based on
something else. Nations can be reimagined, they can remake themselves.
This is an answer to George grant
grant: lament to a passing of a Canada. Canada as a nation can be
something different from grants conservatism, then we will continue. Canada
is not dead, we just changed this idea of who we are. It is creative not
inauthentic or authentic thing to do. Not a betrayal but a regeneration.
Promise of redemption or renewal
Scary potential of nationalism is always there- the national solidarity has
brought much joy, but it is also used to justify abuses to human dignity and
dehumanization of those outside the nation as examined
Part of this creative positive aspect, but it has the potential for us to imagine
our selves in a way that is destructive to those who don’t fit in the story, or
those identified in contrast to who we are/outside the region
Always a nationalism in us justified by a common will to gather, but in this
there is always the other which is where the danger lies.
Different ways of imagining the nation:
Idea of a ethnic nationalism: what bonds people together as a nation is the
idea of a ethnicity or bloodline.
By saying that the blood line is constitutive of a nation, you are offering that
blood line brings the theory of political loyalty. We are constituted as a
political institution/community because we are related, our blood line means
we have communalities and a shared understanding of our history on that
basis.
Essentialist definition- blood line provides theory of political loyalty,
fraternity, belonging
Sovereign- held together by blood line: has built into the DNA, an ideal that
national boundaries, community made by an imagined blood line, that these
are states
States overlapping on nations imagined by a blood line
Nations should have states, states constituted by nations=the ideal
The reality of blood lines in a modern and mobile place: arguably
inachievable, if the ideal is to have a state that is created and related to
bloodlines, some of who you consider will be yours will be across a different
border, there is no way around that.
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