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Unmasking cultural protectionism: An analysis of the relationship between the nation state and culture in contemporary Canada.

Murchison, Heather C (2008) Unmasking cultural protectionism: An analysis of the relationship between the nation state and culture in contemporary Canada. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

Previous studies of contemporary cultural policy have focused primarily on the impact of foreign popular cultural goods on national cultures. While these studies evaluate the effectiveness of the policies, the motivations driving the original legislation are largely overlooked. This dissertation marks a departure from this approach by assessing contemporary Canadian cultural policy from a motivational perspective by questioning the factors driving protectionist cultural policy in an era of trade liberalization. In addition to qualitative and quantitative research, this analysis relies on documents received from the Canadian government through Access to Information Requests to provide an understanding of the influencing factors driving the development of protectionist cultural policy in Canada in response to the split-run magazine dispute of the 1990s. This thesis begins with an examination of the perceived role of popular culture in nation building and the presumed role of foreign culture in eroding national identity as the foundation of protectionist cultural policy in Canada. After establishing this foundation, three hypotheses regarding potential alternative motivations driving the development of contemporary protectionist cultural policy in Canada are tested through an in-depth examination of the split-run magazine dispute. The first hypothesis is that protectionist cultural policy in Canada is motivated by economic forces. The second hypothesis is that private interests of industry and political stakeholders drive protectionist cultural policy in Canada. The final hypothesis is that cultural protectionism in Canada serves a broader political agenda in a globalizing context. Analysis revealed that the legislation developed throughout the split-run dispute was not designed to meet the government's stated objective of fostering a greater sense of national identity through the provision of Canadian content to Canadians. Likewise, while economics and a broader political agenda both appeared to factor into the policy development to some extent, neither can be determined as the primary motivator driving Canadian protectionist cultural policy. Instead, this dissertation reveals contemporary Canadian cultural policy is driven by political elites purporting to protect national identity while shaping legislation to promote stakeholder interests. In doing so, it substantiates allegations that Canadian cultural policy is shaped by elites promoting their own objectives. This dissertation provides the foundation for further analysis of the role and influence of stakeholders in cultural nationalism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, General, Canadian Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2036

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