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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.
In der Forschungsliteratur zur Erinnerungspolitik findet sich oft die Feststellung, dass wir uns in einem „Zeitalter der Entschuldigungen“ befinden. Dieses Kapitel geht der Frage nach, inwiefern Widerstand gegen staatliche Entschuldigungen und verwandte erinnerungspolitische Ereignisse von Gewaltnarrativen Gebrauch macht. Empirisch wird dies anhand von Leserkommentaren zu einer Kolumne in der National Post (einer der größten Tageszeitungen Kanadas) untersucht. Die Kolumne befasste sich mit verschiedenen gedächtnispolitischen Ereignissen der letzten Jahre, darunter auch eine Reihe staatlicher Entschuldigungen. Die rund zweihundert Leserkommentare können zwar kein repräsentatives Bild der öffentlichen Meinung in Kanada zeichnen, geben aber Einblick in Erzähllogiken, die in der Diskussion um Gedächtnispolitik und staatliche Entschuldigungen vielfach zum Tragen kommen. Mit Blick auf Gewalterzählungen lassen sich dabei mindestens vier Muster beobachten: Minimierung historischer Gewalt gegen Minderheiten; Protest gegen die angebliche Verunglimpfung historischer Persönlichkeiten; Ausklammerung gegenwärtiger Gewalt gegen Minderheiten; und Beanspruchung eines Opferstatus für die Mehrheitsgesellschaft.
This article examines the symbolic construction of Canadian national identity by the 1993-2006 Liberal governments and the 2006-2015 Conservative governments. To do so, it employs the concept of a 'national symbolic order', which refers to the complex set of public symbols that invoke, transport, and define claims to a shared national identity. Within Canada's national symbolic order, we focus on the state's use of national symbols across two domains: Speeches from the Throne and banknotes. Our analysis shows that Canada's recent Conservative government has used both of these domains to reshape Canadian national identity in ways that accord with neo-conservative values and ideology, and that it has done so in a coherent, consistent, and comprehensive fashion. This analysis highlights the symbolic strategies employed by state actors in linking particular ideologies to their nation-building projects; these strategies span multiple political and policy spaces.
The Russian Orthodox Church intensifies activities that it labels as patriotic activities and is an important participant in the patriotic education programmes organised by the state. Going beyond institutional types of discourse, this essay examines how believers experience patriotism in their daily lives, how religion nurtures the patriotic sentiment. Priests and the laity present themselves as being in the service of a country in combat. The Orthodox Church combines various moral values, which are at the heart of the patriotism of believers. Russian religious patriots have different relations with the state, and their patriotism sometimes diverges from the official calls. This essay draws on Church publications, interviews with priests and laity since 2008 and observation of religious events.
This article explores the meaning of patriotism in the lives of United States citizens, and specifically how and why patriotism is mobilized as a social force, particularly in times of perceived crisis. Identifying two principal patriotic styles—“deferential” and “inquisitive”—it is argued that the distribution of these styles reflects relational social and political structures of claim making in a democracy, interconnected to individuals' desire to belong to something greater than themselves, and especially to be recognized by others as belonging. In other words, different patriotic styles reflect the relative difficulty or ease individuals and groups experience in establishing and affirming their belonging and social worth, and translating this citizenship into effective political participation. The article explores how these patriotic styles relate to the functioning of the democratic state in times of crisis, and how patriotic attachments serve or do not serve the interests of citizens.
The present article delineates the complex structure of collective identity by incorporating two levels of analysis. The first, the micro level, pertains to individual society members' recognition of and categorization as belonging to a group, with the accompanying cognitive, emotional, and behavioral consequences. The second, the macro level, pertains to the notion of collective identity that denotes the shared awareness by constituents of a society of being members of a collective. This level is founded on two pillars: One pillar consists of generic features that characterize the collective identity. These features apply to macro-level collectives and allow a comparison among them. The other pillar is particular and consists of content characteristics that provide the unique features of the collective identity. The conceptual framework is applied to the analysis of the national collective identity as a case example. The contributions and implications of the described conception are discussed.
This article examines the ways in which young Canadians represent the ‘the War on Terror’ in their narratives. I explore how a hegemonic nationalist narrative enters into this representation in different ways and positions itself in a dynamic tension with the USA, at times eliding the difference and at times affirming it. I illustrate that these students do not simply tell the narrative of the war, but use the deixis of ‘we/us/our’ or ‘them/they/their’ in a way that constructs multiple imagined communities. I argue that these presumably benign representations of Canadian involvement in the war produce banal nationalism that excludes ‘others’, and binds human imagination into a framework that works against critical thinking.
Canada's military engagement in Afghanistan continues to figure highly in the public consciousness, spurring debate on perceived progress and the public's willingness to bear casualties. Despite the many political considerations at play, there is an emotional core to the issue that is often overlooked. In an earlier paper we found public support for the Afghanistan mission to depend in large part on emotive responses, although our analysis was restricted by the limited number of emotional indicators in the data (Fletcher et al., 2009). In this paper, we investigate a broader range of emotional influences on attitudes toward the mission through the use of field research on the Highway of Heroes and experimental framing of casualty-based imagery with student samples. Our findings reveal that Canadians' emotional responses to the repatriation of fallen soldiers reflect a distinctive composite of sadness and pride; the consequence of which is to undercut support for Canada's traditional peacekeeping role, a position negatively related to support for the Afghan mission. When compared with studies conducted in the US (Gartner, 2008a, 2011; and Huddy et al., 2007) our findings suggest some ways in which Canadians and Americans form distinct emotional communities (Rosenwein, 2006) in reactions to war.
While the use of public policy to construct a Canadian identity has been established in the literature, what is less well understood is whether national identity, once established, might shape Canadians' feelings about these same public policies. This article examines the extent to which citizens' national identities influence their pride in Canada's social security system, and how this relationship may be changing over time. Using data from the International Social Science Programme's 1995 and 2003 National Identity Modules, the article argues that citizens' national identities help explain the contours of social security attitudes in Canada, and that this relationship persists despite significant policy change in the field. Additionally, the paper suggests that political actors may successfully increase public support for their social security policies by “framing” them in ways that appeal to citizens' definitions of Canada.
Few deny that Canadian nationalism has existed in a variety of forms. But observers are prone to contrast Canadian patriotism with other, more vociferous varieties - particularly the American brand. We are thus left with the image of the fiercely patriotic American blinding the world with fireworks, while the timorous Canadian hides whatever light she has under a bushel. On occasion, the comparative perspective is abandoned, replaced by some more absolute statement about canadian modesty. The result is the same: an image of Canadians as retiring, unassertive, and diffident. Most of the paper is concerned with establishing the "myth of diffidence" and offering an array of evidence, drawn mostly from Canadian popular culture, which demonstrates its obsolescence and sheds some light on the paradoxes of Canada's loud nationalism. We make some attempt at causal explanation as well - admittedly more in the way of speculations for future work than developed theses. The new patriotism, we hint, may be rooted more in anxiety than any coherent affirmation. Rather than revealing a new confidence in Canadian history, institutions, or shared projects, it is perhaps better understood as a reaction to fundamental challenges to the integrity of the Canadian state. So there may be little save anxious silence at the eye of the nationalist hurricane. As well, fundamental shifts in the relationships between institutions and society may also offer an explanation: the relative decline of state institutions as transmitters of culture and identity, in favor of commodified expressions of these goods, may be affecting the tone and content of Canadian nationalism. But these claims are secondary to our argument. The main purpose here is to critically re-assess the assumptions given in the "myth of diffidence." These assumptions are explored below.
Since 1958, the Canadian government has used the celebration of 1 July to promote particular models of national identity and to foster national unity. Commemorating the anniversary of Confederation, these Dominion Day and Canada Day (as renamed in 1982) observances changed over the decades to reflect changing government public policy objectives and new conceptions of the nation. From a celebration rooted in military pageantry stressing Canada's British heritage, these events were modified to promote a vision of a multicultural, bilingual country with a strong Aboriginal component. Moreover, Canada Day messages increasingly stressed the themes of individual achievement and respect for diversity. Although politicians played roles in determining the form and content of these events, and public response influenced which components were maintained, bureaucrats working in the Secretary of State department exercised a particularly strong influence on these celebrations, providing institutional continuity and expertise to planning efforts. These celebrations provide a key window into understanding the Canadian government's evolving cultural and national identity policies in the postâ€“Second World War era.
This article seeks to document and explain the form and pace of Canada's transformation to a security state. The manifestations of this transformation are seen in the major constitutional, bureaucratic, defensive, and border infrastructural changes that have taken place since 9/11 in an effort to give the Canadian state increased powers to protect its citizens from terrorism. The approach taken in explanation of these changes combines on an ontological level an appreciation for both material and ideational causal forces. This power-plus-ideas approach recognizes the material hierarchy in power capabilities between Canada and the United States as well as the ideational influence of the new transnational security paradigm as the significant causal forces behind the transformation of the Canadian state. It is argued that the material hierarchy in the relationship between Canada and the United States is the ultimate or underlying cause of the form of these changes, but that the ideational pull of the new transnational security paradigm must be factored into to the account of the rapid pace of such change.
The American flag is a frequently displayed national symbol in the United States. Given its high visibility and importance, the present research examines the consequences of exposure to the flag on Americans' sense of national attachment. We hypothesized that the flag would increase patriotism, defined as love and commitment to one's country, and nationalism, defined as a sense of superiority over others. Two experimental studies supported the idea that the American flag increased nationalism, but not necessarily patriotism. The discussion focuses on the practices surrounding the American flag and its implications for the reproduction of American national identity.
This study explores identification with one's national group using two distinct but interrelated concepts: identity content and relational orientation. Theoretical distinctions were drawn between two forms of identity content: traditional-cultural and civic, and between two forms of relational orientation: blind and constructive. The multidimensionality of both identity content and relational orientation and the relationships amongst these components were examined in a British sample: positive relationships were hypothesized between blind orientation and traditional-cultural content and between constructive orientation and civic content. Principal components analyses confirmed the hypothesized factor structures, and the resulting scales were highly reliable. Relationships amongst the resulting factors were explored using regression analyses. The overall results indicate support for the orthogonality of both the two orientation dimensions and the two content dimensions. Moreover, the hypothesized relationships between forms of orientation and content were largely supported. In conclusion, this study highlights the importance of looking at the relationship between identity content and relational orientation. The implications of these observations for theory and research are discussed with reference to using categories to “group” participants in research, citizenship education, and more general attitudes towards social change.
In this paper, we adopt the view that ‘nation’ and ‘national identity’ are social constructions, created to serve ideological ends. We discuss this in the specific empirical context of Singapore's National Day parades. By drawing on officially produced souvenir programmes and magazines, newspaper reports, and interviews with participants and spectators, we analyse the parades between 1965 and 1994, showing how, as an annual ritual and landscape spectacle, the parades succeed to a large extent in creating a sense of awe, wonderment and admiration. Discussion focuses on four aspects of the celebrations: the site of the parades, their display and theatricality, the composition and involvement of parade participants, and parade themes. We also discuss some examples of alternative readings of parade meanings, illustrating how ideological hegemony is not total.