The House of Difference: Cultural Politics and National Identity in Canada

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1999 Hardcover 415181666. Brand New;

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Combining an analysis of the construction of national identity in both past and present-day public culture with interviews with white Canadians, The House of Difference explores how ideas of racial and cultural difference are articulated in colonial and national projects, and in the subjectivities of people who consider themselves 'ordinary', or simply 'Canadian-Canadians'. Considering whether multiculturalism and pluralism draw on and reinforce racial exclusions and hierarchies of difference, Eva Mackey deconstructs the 'Benevolent Mountie Myth', demonstrating how official 'tolerance' for 'others' functions as an addendum to the invisible, and still dominant, Anglo-Canadian culture, and argues that officially endorsed versions of multiculturalism abduct the cultures of minority groups, pressing them into the service of nation building without promoting genuine respect and autonomy. Mapping the contradictions and ambiguities in the cultural politics of Canadian identity, The House of Difference opens up new understandings of the operations of 'tolerance' and Western liberalism in a supposedly post-colonial era.
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Editorial Reviews

Despite its vaunted tolerance, Canada is not immune to the bigotry exemplified by extreme nationalism. Even national forums like Expo 67 serve as majority "pedagogies of patriotism" according to Mackey (cultural anthropology, Charles Sturt U., Australia), who pairs interviews with white Canadians with an analysis of the country's development. In deconstructing the "Benevolent Mountie Myth" (represented on the cover), the author argues that official support of pluralism actually serves to reinforce Anglo-Canadian identity as per a World War I Canadian Patriotic fund poster quoting an Indian: "My skin is dark but my heart is white ...." Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Eva Mackey is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at McMaster University.
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Table of Contents

List of figures
1 Introduction: unsettling differences: origins, methods, frameworks 1
2 Settling differences: managing and representing people and land in the Canadian national project 23
3 Managing the house of difference: official multiculturalism 50
4 Becoming indigenous: cultural difference, land and narratives of nationhood 71
5 Localising strategies: celebrating Canada 91
6 Crisis in the house: the constitution, celebrations and 'populism' 107
7 The 'bottom line': 'Canada first' and the limits of liberalism 141
Notes 168
Bibliography 176
Index 191
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