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Lecture 5

ANT100Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Identity Politics, English Canada, Italian Unification

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Ivan Kalmar

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A depolitized identity.
- National identities are constructed, imagined, and they change.
- Nation: a “unit” constructed out of continuity and diversity.
- National identity is a matter of practicing “imagined community.”
- Language and Nation.
- Canada and Quebec. Canada and the United States.
- Depoliticization: The idea that the concept of the nation “hides” politics. Other depoliticized identities:
culture, civilization, race.
Culture and Politics
- Culture has to do with ideas, art, habitual behaviour.
- Politics (in our sense) has to do with social relations: relations among groups of people within and
between societies.
Identities are multiple, flexible, and changing.
- The homogeneous “nation” an “impossible” construction, always in the making.
- It operates in culture
(as an idea), but it’s function is political
(it is the foundation, potentially, of a
- The idea of the “nation” suggests homogeneity and borders, where there is neither.
- It ignores the different groups within society and their relations:
- It ignores politics.
- Cultural, religious, and racial identities can do the same. They can also represent heterogeneity as
homogeneity (a sameness out of difference).
Culture can mask politics and so serve the powerful.
- Fosters unity over class and ethnic divisions depoliticizes the community.
- “Unity in diversity” (American money has this written on it)
- Sets up borders and weakens cross-border identities.
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