NATIONAL IDENTITY & HEGEMONY
Transition Between Empires: Britain to America
transition of dominion of canada and the old ﬂag to one of 'multi-cultural' nationalism—the mosaic. this transition
was the formation of a new kind of hegemony. hegemony - not ruling by force alone but winning the hearts and
minds of the people.
when the british empire falls apart, canada needed to invent a new national narrative. this turns out to be the story
to be canadian is to be multicultural in some sort of way. how does that make sense as nationalism?
a hegemonic story has to tell several diﬀerent stories at once. it is a story like an ink blot so people can see the
story they want to see in it.
1. there is the two founding nations story. french and english
2. there is the story of the 'west', from plato to nato.
in the 19c when people used the term the west they meant it in a geographically speciﬁc way: they refered to some
place west of something in europe. it was ﬁrst used by russian writers. everything west of russia, talking about
intellectuals in france etc. those french intellectuals start to use the term for themselves.
after wwii the US reinvents the term to make german enemies into allies, a new myth about the civilization called
"The West." People hadn't thought of themselves this way before. And this is something Canada can belong to and
see itself as part of.
3. aboriginal relation to the crown nationalism. canada has a bizarre thing. most of the time canada completely
ignores aboriginals and their problems, especially urban aboriginals, but as soon as something like the olympics
come there are totem poles and inukshuks and our connection to aboriginal people is worn on our sleeves. there is
a certain imaginary aboriginality that is part of our identity to some respect. this is connected to a notion that WE
ARE ALL IMMIGRANTS. aboriginals came by land bridge ﬁrst. ours by boats and now airplanes. despite the
huge anthropological diﬀerence between coming here for the ﬁrst time as humans by landbridge 10000 years
earlier and coming here by boat. but this is a hegemonic story, it is an ink blot that we latch onto in bits and pieces
for expedience when we need the story.
any kind of hegemony always has an instibility cf. foucault. its always being contested. contested by quebecois
nationalism, aboriginal nationalism, and myriad other forms. this canadian nationality is not one everyone swears
to. these writers in the tb are pointing to diﬀerent aspects of the porousness of this national story.
in terms of the studio, there is an idea that perhaps things have changed signiﬁcantly enough that multi-cultural
nationalism is in such crisis currently that there may be a new identity emerging. this game models that 'war of
position' (gramsci) where we have debates and arguments (and more, considering there is an aspect of simply trying
to win the game of politics to build a pipeline) trying to determine what the nature of our collective existence
together is about.
some people are trying to reconstitute our nationality as a reinvention of technonationalism or some sort of petro-
nationalism. the rhetoric of pipeline technology solving everything. the debates are wrapped around the ﬂag where
people against oil are foreign agents and those pro-oil are patriots.
People in Quebec have long been suspicious of this canadian narrative.
he writes about the quiet revolution, thro