January 20, 2014
In text citationInstructions on her slides
Media and National Cultures
Talked about Benedict Anderson vs Barthes
Tim Hortons presenting itself as Canadian.
Tim Hortons presents Canadianness as being centered around these day to day
experiences of food and friends and also centered around the values of endurance.
Making our way up that hill everyday to get our coffee. TH presents itself as a home for
Canadianness as a form of travel.
Tim Hortons adds Canadianness=daily food experiences, endurance, home
Enabled by gaps in identity projected by government, which is mainly
MackeyThe House of Difference
Discusses larger argument: how Canadian national identity has been
developed through a long period of history, post WWII. The stories we tell
about the history of Canada are part of this larger development of identity.
Mass media enabled and encouraged the imagination of the country
Mass media gets us to by into the myths of national culture: ‘mythology;
It is bourgeois culture but its not called bourgeois French culture but just French culture.
Power of myth is that it makes these history and political things seem natural and
Meaning is made through joining little bits of the world together. The smallest unit of
meaning is ‘the sign’ it is made up of the signifier and the signified.
Myth takes the first level of meaning and adds a second level to it.
Barthes argues that myth works because both it has repetitive process but also because its
grounded on this initial concrete sign and therefore these concrete way of making
meaning has a strong influence over us believing and buying into the myth.
Grounded in the initial sign
This process makes myths natural and common sense
Offers an alibi for the second order
**Picture of Mackey’s, to make use of her argument**
Two people shaking hands, a photographer is a sign itself
Unnamed Mountie and a chief sittingeagle
Myth level: removes particular contexts and replaces them with general concepts like
national pride. Mackey is making an argument about how these larger discourses of national pride in
particular and national formation are developed out of the particulars of history.
She starts out with questions, people talk about the research they do in this way.
Nationalist’s discourses were focused on creating homogeneity
Was Canadian nationalism just nicer or was it making a different kind of
instruction that was doing the same thing (managing populations, structures to retain
Deconstructing the Myth of Canadian Tolerance
Myth, an idea of national culture and what it is about.
Disconnected from the particulars of history
Interested in how this myth has built up, where its coming from and how people
interact with it.
Why study dominant mythology?
Barthes: dominant myths are considered not cultural forms coming from
particular places in history but from history in the world.
Deconstructing allows us to see how it’s not natural
Mackey is interested in studying this process of dominant Canadian myths but analyzing
complex process through which such culture is a logterm project, constantly created by
the state and individuals.
Critique: “a critique is not a matter of saying things are not right as they are. It is a
matter of pointing out on what kinds of assumptions, what kinds of familiar,
unchallenged, unconsidered modes of thought the practices we accept rest”.
It is not just starting with saying something bad but seeing how its working and
what its doing
Challenge the idea thathaving a nation is an inherent attribute of humanity.
She critiques that there needs to be a national identity, a unified national identity for a
country to survive.
She argues that nation building and nationalism are projects, do not naturally exist
Socially transmitted endeavors, in part about creating social things
People involved in the project might have different ideas about the content.
People who are not involved might say, “do we need national identity?”
**Picture of Mackey’s, to make use of her argument**
What is the content of this idea, that Canadian cultural national identity?
This postcard devotes mythology of Canadian identity, “benevolent Mounty myth”
This image of collaboration between the state and nations people in the
creation of this country.
E.g. ‘Benevolent Mountie Myth’, ’ cultural mosaic’ Mounties were representatives of law and created peace in less violence ways
than in the states,
This myth was an important part of emerging parts of mythology
Cultural Mosaic: Canada is a cultural mosaic
Canada was different from the US because of its existence as a cultural mosaic
These narratives center around this national identity based on multiculturalism and
But: put white English Canada at the center.
Tolerance: white people are tolerant
Largely used to distinguish Canadianness from the US and from Britain
Distinct national culture, like other projects of nationalism this is in part about the
management of power.
Mackey says it’s a different kind of nationalism project, part because of the
Canada as opposed to UK is a settler country, it was colonized (British
Canadian occupied lands and settler), therefore it has different national myths
Settler colonies like Canada and Australia, we see some similar things in the
Canada as settler colony draws on this idea of pluralism to draw on its
Seen as ‘in crisis’, threatened
Canada was a settler colony that conquered another settler colony.
British parts of Canada conquered French parts of Canada. (Pluralism)
As a flexible strategy for managing populations
Two founding nations
British and the French
We have two founding nations and pluralism, which is everyone else.
Immigrants are sometimes insiders and sometimes outsiders.
Multisited ethnography: going to number of different places and seeing how things
happening in theses places link