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Lecture 3

Lecture 3- What is a “Nation”? Imagining Canada

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Linda Mc Nenly

The Cool Culture Soul Machine: The Anthropology of Everyday Life Lecture 3 – May 13, 2013 What is a “Nation”? Imagining Canada Readings for todays lecture: - "True Stories' of Canada: Tim Horton's and the Branding of National Identity." Cultural Sociology 2(3): 369-384. - "Settling the West: gentle Mounties and picturesque 'Indians'.” pp. 34-37, "Making the Indians Ethnic," pp. 60-3, and "The Land as Unifier of Diversity." pp. 74-6. In The House of Difference: Cultural Politics and National Identity in Canada, Toronto: University of Toronto Press. - Anderson, Benedict (1991). "Cultural Roots,' pp. 1-36, in Imagined Communities: Reflections on the origins and spread of nationalism, revised edition. NY: Verson NOTE: - Assignment #1 is due next Monday May 20, 2013 (handed it in the drop box feature on portal) Canadian Identity is difficult to define: - Even though we produce and consume Canadianness in everyday life, Canadian identity is difficult to define - Identity is not natural and not a preexisting factor - The meaning of identity is constantly constructed and negotiated How/ In What Ways is Canadian Identity Constructed, and By Whom? WHO?: Government/ Media Corporations – Tim Horton’s (Individuals) Next class – Tourism and Olympics HOW?: Semiotic approach: What signs and symbols are used (‘read’)? Representational strategies used? Interpret meaning of symbols (‘diagnose’) o Narratives and discourse* What is Canadian? - Signs and Symbols (‘texts’) - Own experiences o Snow (the weather), saying “eh”, being extra polite, hockey, maple syrup, beaver (specific animals), Tim Horton’s, igloos - CBC signoff (video watched in class) o Maple leaf, mountains, nature landscape, the National Anthem, Niagara Falls, architecture - Molson Canadian beer commercial “The Rant” (Video Watched in Class) o Beavers, fur traders, igloos, lumber jack, defining Canadian of what it is not (comparing us to Americans and how we are not like them) , we are peacemakers Semiotics: The study of signs and symbols (‘texts’) - “Reading” and “Diagnosing” Signs and Symbols o Looking for the hidden meanings and how these symbols came to mean what they mean today - Arbitrariness – depends on Interpreter or individual The Cool Culture Soul Machine: The Anthropology of Everyday Life Lecture 3 – May 13, 2013 o Example: why is a beaver particularly Canadian? Why are these mountains representative of Canadians? o Context and multiple meanings - Hermeneutics: Science of interpretation o Deeper meaning of texts to make connections o How they acquire meaning and for what purpose? (Why are they using this particular sign?) o EXAMPLE: How does Tim’s coffee acquire meaning as Canadian? o How do government monuments and media represent Canadians? In What Ways is Canadian Identity Constructed by Whom, and For What Purpose? - Ambiguous and difficult to define what a Canadian is despite “traits” that we have - Representational Strategy: Strategies of representation that privilege certain meanings o Example: Binary Opposition: Put two signs and symbols that are opposite of the other together to convey a meaning (Ie. Men and Women) o Representation: Social production of meaning through signs and symbols o By using this strategy of binary opposition, it highlights certain meaning such as NOT AMERICAN EXAMPLE A: Government/ National Level - Why construct Canadian identity? o It is to unify diverse people across this mass landscape. We are all related
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