Thursday, April 10, 2008

More about being "Canadian"

Harry Hillier talks about the evolution of thinking in terms of what constitutes the "nation" of Canada. From the country's inception, there was an idea that the political entity affiliated with Britain would bear its imprint (called anglo-conformity). This evolved into the two-nation view by 1960, when new accommodations between English and French in Canada were required. By the 1990s, the notions of a three-nation view emerged, with the "realization" of the prior presence of First Nations. So, in conclusion, the cores and essentials of Canadian nationality are no longer clear. (295)

Kieran Keohane suggests that "Canadian" is defined as manifested in a "way of life." In other words, "Canadian" is how we live. (19) He also suggests that there is an enjoyment of endurance hardwired into Canadians:
Throughout Canadian popular culture there are discourses that celebrate an enjoyment of endurance and a valuation of tolerance. (35)
There also exists a lack of particularity in the character of Canadians. (38)

Keohane writes:
At the heart of the symbolic order of Canada is a knot where endurance and enjoyment, and enjoyment of endurance of lack of particularity, are articulated. This knot of meanings supports values of tolerance and unpretentiousness. (40)
Of course, one of the common conceptions of Canada is that it is not the United States, and nor are Canadians all the same.

Finally, there is a friendly character of Canadian humour. We are not afraid of making fun of ourselves, with self-disclosure and self-deprication. (153-154)

Sources: Harry H. Hillier, Canadian Society: A Macro Analysis (Fifth Edition) (Toronto: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006); Hieran Keohane, Symptoms of Canada: An Essay on the Canadian Identity (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997).

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