January 13, 2014
What is Canadianness? How do we identify Canadianness?
Through seeing it represented in media
National identities are something that are constructed or historically situated
We don’t start with an identity; nationalism was not always something that
Sometimes we can explain someone’s behavior by naming his or her
Linking a behavior with a national behavior.
It is not necessarily always true.
Sometimes when we talk about nationalism is actually the history of
Principle=political and national unit should be congruent
Not changinghistorically contingent
The breakdown of various empires was in part for the rise of nationalism.
Discourses of nationalism try to tell us
What historians tell is that often nationalism involves the development of this
story. In the process of developing our states we develop this stories.
Often people refer to this as the invention of tradition, and what they mean
by this is not that tradition is a lie but that it must be created.
The idea is that nations are not unchanging they are historically contingent.
“for the purposes of analysis nationalism comes before nations. Nations od
not make states and nationalism but the other way round.”
Theory and practice
The nationalism we express on a daytoday basis, like the Tim Horton’s adds,
daytoday practices of nationalism and the way in which it actually works.
The practice of nationalism is often about the attachment of one particular
nation over another.
Rise of Nationalism
Many political entities that are now nation states, naturally being nation states were
being serious of independent kingdoms or states within larger empires. They began to be
joined together, into nation states during this period.
Johann Herder (born 1744, Prussia)
“Wonderfully separated nationalities not only be woods and mountains, seas
and deserts, rivers and climates, but more particular by languages, inclinations
Importance of ‘Volk’
German word for ‘folk’: the regular people, the people that you might see in
cultural forms such as fairy tales or folk songs; people creating essence of this
national character. Herder published folk’s songs; his ideas inspired efforts to create nation states, during
the 19 century there were attempts to create German states. There was the unification of
Ideas of nationalism were developing in Italy
Different kingdoms and principalities were joined through our struggle, through the 19 th
These ideas of nationality and nation state continue to be created.
Former Yugoslavia in 1980’s
Separation of Sudan into Sudan and South Sudan in 2011
Upcoming independence referendum in Scotland
Is it today still ideas about the folk? Are we basing our national projects on folk
literature and folk songs?
Largely, no, in part because you could argue that there is no such thing as folk
literature. Because of the rise of mass media we have larger scale of texts that are
Log Driver’s Waltz & Black Fly: folk stories collected, recorded and
developed into animations.
Black Fly: the North as a place of endurance of black flies, it is also
about this survey of damps that the folktale does not have to much
info on what it does to the landscape, who is in control, and where
it’s going. Then we have animals that are part of the story, a bear.
The national film board takes these folk stories and distributes them through mass
media, and part of their goal is to disseminate and fund the production of Canadian
culture. Their goal is in a way, nationalism and diverse perspectives of nationalism.
Argue in apart that an essential aspect of nationalism is the mass medial.
Becoming influential in the 1900’s in the same way of nationalism.
Argued that media is what creates this idea that there can be one national culture,
through a national film board we can have a national culture.
The idea is that media creates common experiences and that its nota bout the content but
about the process’.
Benedict Anderson born 1936, China
Moved to California 1941, BA in England, PHD in Indonesia.
Anderson argues in his book Imagined Communities, is that in part we can
see nations are imagined communities. Not Imaginary communities, in that it
is a community that is not face to face community of continual interaction but
where we imagine the connection between the people of this community. It means they are not concrete interactions in way that neighborhood connections
“the practice of printcapitalism facilitated the imagining of the nation” (44)
Vernacularization of language
Unified fields of communication
the distribution of newspapers amongst lots of people, that
distribution itself unifies communication.
Stabilization of language
The standardization of language, this idea that there is one proper
written language, that one will always spell things the same.
Rise of the newspaper
People learning and reporting on things across the nation.
Media in Canada
Can we look at our situation and say media enables and creates nationalism?
Is nationalism being developed through media?
Nationstate’s involvement in creating ‘imagined communities’ (link)
Other nonstate imagined communities: (link)
Roland Barthes born in 1915, France
Popular theorist, wrote series of essays for magazines; part of the book