Grassroots Patriotism : Reconstructing Canada’sNational Identity Along the “Highway of Heroes”
This essay examines Canada’s “Highway of Heroes” as a citizen-oriented patriotism in response to Canada’s war in Afghanistan. The paper advances the idea of the “Highway of Heroes” phenomenon as a “grassroots patriotism” where upon representations of the Canadian nation are performed and contested by citizens themselves. The central argument forwarded is that the “Highway of Heroes” represents a departure from – and challenge to – official state discourses of patriotism that have dominated Canada outside Québec over the last half a century, which includes a patriotic narrative of Canada’s military efforts and war heroes. Importantly, this version of patriotism has been more recently embraced by the Canadian state, thus demonstrating how grassroots patriotisms can influence and shape official state narratives of patriotism.