From Native Pines to Diasporic Geese: Placing Culture, Setting Our Sites, Locating Identity in a Transnational Canada

Brian S. Osborne (Queen's University)

Abstract: In Canada, as elsewhere, introspective and nostalgic views of community and nation-state are being challenged by the impacts of globalism and cosmopolitanism. The impact of these transformations is acute in the context of Canada, where a liberal multiculturalism is transmuting into a hybrid pluralism. Current strategies of identity formation have to accommodate a hybridity that is being fostered by an ever-increasing diasporic population for whom "lived-in places" exhibit transnationalist connections. Too often, established mnemonic tropes relate to past iconic values and norms of the nation-state, even though they are no longer connected with emerging new values that search for new modes of expression. This paper discusses the crucial role of the arts and heritage in this local anchoring of the transnational polity, arguing that symbolic landscapes become sites where new values are contested and traditional iconic values are challenged.

Résumé : Içi, comme ailleurs, des représentations introspectives et nostalgiques de communauté et d'État sont remises en question suite à l'impacte des effets de la mondialisation et du cosmopolitisme. La conséquence de ces transformations est fortement marquée dans un contexte canadien où un certain multiculturalisme libéral est en voie de se transformer en pluralisme hybride. Les stratégies courantes de création d'identité doivent accommoder une hybridité stimulée par une population diasporique grandissante chez qui le lieu d'habitation présente un contenu trans-nationaliste. Il se trouve trop souvent que des tropes mnémoniques préétablis s'apparentent à des valeurs iconiques traditionnelles et à des normes de l'État, même quand ils ne sont plus rattachés aux valeurs émergentes qui cherchent à élaborer de nouveaux modes d'expression. Cette communication examine le rôle critique des arts et du patrimoine vis-à-vis l'insertion au niveau local de l'entité transnationale. Il propose que les paysages symboliques deviennent des sites où de nouvelles valeurs sont contestées et où les valeurs ioniques traditionnelles sont remises au défi.


We know who did it to us. It was the much-beloved Group of Seven and all their camp-followers! Think of Arthur Lismer's A September Gale (1921), his Pine Tree and Rocks (1921), or his Bright Land (1938). Then there is A. Y. Jackson's Terre Sauvage (1913), Lawren Harris' Winter Sunrise (1918), and Tom Thomson's The Jack Pine (1916-17). And, of course, A. J. Casson's White Pine (c. 1917) and F. H. Varley's Squally Weather, Georgian Bay (1920) have become the iconic renderings of Canadians' quintessential engagement with nordicity, isolation, and Nature (Osborne, 1988, 1992b). That is, Canada's experience of national-culture building has relied much upon an arboreal model that emphasizes rootedness in place and an essentially fixed metanarrative of a heroic survival in the face of adversity.

But given the modern verities of Canada's encounter with diasporic identities, ethnic diversities, and transnational linkages, the metaphor of trees is too grounded for the dynamics of modern postnationalist states. This is why Erin Manning prefers a mobile rhizomatic model rather than a rooted arboreal one in undermining and subverting Canada's essentializing narratives of territorial integrity and homogenous identity (2003). In her search for "transgressive alternative" metaphors, well-established "arborescent territorializations" are replaced by "a vocabulary of the rhizome that undermines stable notions of identity and territory through its uncompromising tubular propagations across boundaries and ideologies" (Manning, 2003, pp. xx-xxi). But even the dynamic rhizomes are too grounded for my take on this problem. This is where the iconic geese fit in: as a metaphor for Canada's encounter with, and accommodation of, the subversive challenges posed by mobility, cosmopolitanism, and hybridity. They allow me to play with some of the major components of the "geography of identity."

The central thesis of this paper is that in Canada, as elsewhere, introspective, romantic, isolationist, nostalgic views of community and nation-state are being challenged by the economic, cultural, demographic, and technological impacts of globalism and cosmopolitanism. And, in Canada as elsewhere, there is a reaction: the integration of the local into the global; a "glocalization" in response to globalization; the lure of the local and familiar as a reaction to the exoticism of a cosmopolitan mongrel world (Courchene, 1995; Featherstone, Lash, & Robertson, 1995; Robertson, 1995; Swyngedouw, 1992, 2001). For some, the celebration of a "lived-in-culture" is crucial to the nurturing of the national polity and social cohesion by remaining "locally anchored in a changing global world" (Hague, 2005, p. 3).

The problem is, of course, that these initiatives to enhance participation in, and commemoration of, the experience of the national culture and heritage are taking place in an increasingly diverse and dynamic world. Often, established mnemonic tropes relate to past values and norms that continue to be iconic, even though they are no longer connected with emerging new values that search for new modes of expression. Indeed, Canada's existential borders and edges reflect a society where a liberal multiculturalism is transmuting into a hybrid pluralism.

Central to my take on this is that Canada is not a "nation-state" or a "state-nation," but rather a "nationalizing-state." While the former two categories imply some sense of achieved cohesion, the term "nationalizing-state" is intended to convey the sense of the state's ongoing involvement in identity-building projects. To this end, at least three models of cultural formation may be recognized: a monolithic state nationalism; a multicultural state project; and a hybrid and cosmopolitan post-/late-nationalism transforming into transnational communities. Throughout all three, a nativist grounding of local identity has, per force, wrestled with the external forces of British imperialism, American continentalism, global multilateralism, and, increasingly, cosmopolitanism. Thus, the current strategies of identity formation have to accommodate a hybridity that is being fostered by an ever-increasing diasporic population, and they must accommodate this hybridity as it is expressed in "lived-in places" experiencing bourgeoning transnationalist connections.

Crucial to the exploration of these questions is the need to understand how top-down hegemonic expressions of, and bottom-up social participation in, cultural heritage interact in specific locales. It is here that we should examine the ways by which participation in the collective understanding of who we were, who we are, and who we should be play out. That is, to focus on the power of place in this equation of identity-creation at the national, regional, and local levels:

  1. the advocacy of the power of symbolic place in identity construction;

  2. an analysis of the nature and role of state intervention in identity formation;

  3. the role of private-sector "commodification of place" in the public encounter with heritage and difference through tourism;1

  4. Canada's engagement with a globalizing world, increasing internal diversity, and transnational linkages.2

Grounding the argument: Putting things in place

Lived cultures and identities do not make sense unless they are considered in the context of where they are worked out, as an exercise in "cultural mapping" at an array of scales (Mercer, 2003). It is all about the meaning of place. Space is a neutral entity, defined by objective co-ordinates and measures; but "place" is an emotive entity, experienced emotionally and defined subjectively. That is, people produce places and they also derive their identities from them. Farms and fields, streets and neighbourhoods, vernacular buildings and institutional edifices, parks and monuments, songs and stories: all are expressions of the social activities in space that transform the latter into place. They are the spatial co-ordinates for identity and belonging in the reciprocal relationship between people and the places they inhabit. Our self-knowledge is developed in the context of "place-worlds" that can be seen and touched, experienced and imagined, and located and mapped (Casey, 1987, 1996; Lynch, 1960, 1972; Malpas, 1999; McDowell, 1997).

In a segue from Gilian Rose's assertion that "places are infused with meaning and feeling" (1995, p. 88), Hague declares that "a place is a geographical space that is defined by meanings, sentiments and stories rather than by a set of co-ordinates" (2005, p. 4). Those attempting to capture this identity often resort to terms such as "personality" or "character" of a place, the genius loci made up of latent characteristics that constitute the essential identity of a place (Eliade, 1987; Norberg-Schulz, 1980). "Place identities" are formed through personal feelings, meanings, experiences, memories, and actions that are "filtered through social structures and fostered through socialization" (Hague, 2005, pp. 7-8). That is, the objective geometry of space is transformed into emotive places by living in place, memorizing place, narrating place, and creating "symbolic landscapes." These constitute essential dimensions of the "geography of identity."

Living places

It is through evolving social relations, ritualized practices, and regular performances of daily living that spaces acquire meaning, reflect social and political values, and are transformed into living places. That is, while places function as settings for the pragmatics of economic and social reproduction, they also acquire symbolic meaning. Any society's Lebenswelt is a complex product of socioeconomic activities, cultural meaning, and conventions for imagining. Thus, attention must also be directed to the evolution of places as "lived-in" and functioning locales that become sites of ritualized interactions with nature and society: places are articulations of meanings "constituted at the intersection of multiple memories, desires, narratives, inscriptions, and physical uses" (Koepnick, 2001, p. 346.)

It follows that the meaning of place is a function of quotidian practices of living, formalized rituals, and unique contrapuntal events. As Angela Martin puts it, "[i]dentity is formed and continually reinforced via individual practice within culturally defined spaces" and the resultant "sense of place" is "a component of identity and psychic interiority" that "informs practice and is productive of particular expressions of place" (1997, p. 1). In particular, places are the stages where the routinized activities of social and economic reproduction are acted out within the group, with other groups, and with government and other institutions. Through routinized living in particular places, the abstraction of space is transformed into a social and psychic geography that is profoundly integrated into peoples' identity. In this way, over time, these "place-biographies" are "formed, used, and transformed in relation to practice" (Tilley, 1994, p. 33). That is, abstract space is transformed into particular place by the processes by which people create material and social realms through living there. The sense of belonging to a place is because "you feel comfortable, or at home, because part of how you define yourself is symbolized by certain qualities of that place" (Rose, 1995, p. 89).

But the outcome of peoples' activities in these situated experiences can be, variously, close identification with them, ambivalence to them, or even alienation from them. While this is best understood in terms of "dystopic sites" of violence and tragedy (Foote, 1997; Neal, 1998), negative "place-images" can be generated by the homogenizing, centralizing, and alienating forces of large-scale government and globalized economies (Kunstler, 1993; Massey, 1994, 1995, 1997; Massey & Jess, 1995; Relph, 1976). So often, the result has been the erosion of local distinctiveness and the replication of globalized forms that render societies "place-less" and "spaced-out." It is no wonder, therefore, that many places wish to celebrate the local and the distinct in reaction to these forces, to ensure sustainable and vibrant communities.

Re-membering places

The way in which we remember as individuals, social groups, or national collectivities depends upon spatial and temporal reference points that serve as a "mnemonic place system" to facilitate mental recall (Yates, 2001, p. 3). That is, remembering (to foil forgetting) is also an act of "re-membering" (as a process of re-constituting the temporally layered elements that are the essential components of our complex identities). When applied to the broader purpose and greater scale of larger collectivities, such social energy has been directed to a "contrived structuring of time and space" to establish a "mental geography" in which "the past is mapped in our minds according to its most unforgettable places" (Hutton, 1993, p. 80). The association of images of the past with concrete "places of memory" serves to materialize and reify abstract social conventions in everyday social discourse (Halbwachs, 1971, 1975, 1980). In this way, storied places constitute commemorative landscapes made up of "landmarks" that provide spatial and temporal co-ordinates for remembering: that is, an array of "particular figures, dates, and periods of time that acquire an extraordinary salience" (Coser, 1992, pp. 223-224). Halbwach's "landmarks" prompt comparison with Nora's "lieux de memoire" (1996, 1997, 1998) and Nuttall's vision of "memoryscapes" (1992). Interestingly, in his study of the imagined construct, "Albion," Peter Ackroyd refers to the "territorial imperative" as "the means by which a local area can influence or guide all those who inhabit it" (2004, pp. 448-449). He goes on to speak of a "sense of place" in which the "echoic simplicities of past use and past tradition sanctify a certain spot of ground" and declares that "we owe much to the ground on which we dwell" as "landscapes" and "dreamscapes" that nurture "a sense of longing and belonging." Such historicized spaces/places anchor time and produce locales where cultures find meaning.

But it must be emphasized that these memories, inscriptions, dreamscapes are not merely located in places as if geography were but the stage for the acting-out of history: rather, the two are closely interbedded throughout. Perhaps this is best expressed in the Bakhtinian concept of "chronotope," which argues that time can be geographically concentrated: an interpenetration of time and space. This is of importance to this study in that nations are often imagined in a nexus of space and time. Their distinctiveness is derived from being located within particular geographic borders and placed within a unique history. Of particular relevance here is Bakhtin's "idyllic chronotope," which is based on the immanence of "folkloric time" (1981, p. 225). People are imagined as being indigenously rooted to the land in a foundational "time-immemorial" past and a continuous "present-future." The idyll is expressed in a special relationship of time and space: an organic grafting of life to a familiar territory that is inseparable from the age-old rooting of generations there. Through such an idyll, people and place are united across time. For Anthony Smith, the incorporation of popular myth, symbol, value, and memory of the homeland with the boundaries of the nation contributes to the "territorialization of memory" (Smith, 2003).

The point is that when nationalizing-states get involved in scripting and editing collective memories for the purposes of a putative collective identity, the process becomes a presentist project. Primordial verities and time-immemorial origins are re-worked by the process of re-membering the past in the present (Ball, Crewe, & Spitzer, 1999; Ben-Amos & Weissberg, 1999; Casey, 1987; Connerton, 1989; Pyenson, 2000; Shaw & Chase, 1989; Walkowitz & Knauer, 2004; Walton, 2001). That is, identities are constantly being re-constituted according to the needs of the present, through selective appropriation, manipulation, and even imaginative invention: the objective is always some ideologically driven sense of a desired future.

In this politicization of memory, the past is not preserved but is socially constructed through its re-presentation in such memory-machines as archives, museums, national chronicles, school curricula, monuments, and public displays. Also, national holidays, political extravaganzas, sporting events, and the rites of passage of the great and popular are also opportunities for the expression of a state-scripted national solidarity.

Narrating places

Stories take place in settings: they also make places. People know who they are "through the stories they tell about themselves and others" and their "narrative texts" "constitute primary documents of cultural expressivity" (Friedman, 1998, pp. 8-9). Individuals, collectivities, and nationalizing-states are continually re-imagining themselves through a re-negotiation of history, memory, and identity in terms of foundation myths, sacred places, and the personification of assumed national qualities. As implied in Bhabha's provocative title, Nation and Narration (1990), historical and mythic narratives provide a temporal template for national identities.

It follows that the production of this collectively remembered history is rendered as a mythic narrative that is acted out on, bounded by, and bonded with, particular places. People's identification with places is effected by the stories told about them (Massey, 1994). Such "narrative poetics" are always associated with specific locales that become imbued with historically produced cultural meanings. Lippard claims it is "the lure of the local" that empowers "the historical narrative as it is written in the landscape or place by the people who live or lived there" (1997, p. 7).

That is, peoples' identification with storied places is essential for the cultivation of an awareness - an "a-where-ness" - of their identity. The familiar material world becomes studded with symbolically charged sites and events that provide social continuity, contribute to the collective memory, and provide spatial and temporal reference points for society. Thus, de Certeau claims that there are two principal "practices" we use to locate ourselves in everyday life: his "practice of place" highlights the assigning of place-names; then there is the "storying of places" (de Certeau, 1984). Both of these processes serve to construct familiar places and thus transform complex worlds into the simplifications of "singular histories and geographies" that serve as "a symbolic shorthand for a particular cultural or national formation" (Daniels, 1993, p. 5).

Further, stories are inscribed in place-names. Think of the collection of meanings in a name such as Llanfairpwllgwyngellgogerychwyndrobwllllandtysuliogogogoch! The modern compromise of "Llanfair p.g." just does not cut it. But I still often walk to a farm called Pendducaefawr ("the head of the big black field"), past a location on the mountain called Troed-y-Milwyr ("foot of the soldier"), to overlook a village Bedlinog, rendered meaningless since the English transmogrification of Beddllwynog ("the grave of the fox"). This is what Basso's (1996) assertion that "wisdom sits in places" is all about: toponyms as "enplaced-narratives." While we may know where they are, do we ever question what places such as Cataraqui, Gananoque, Napanee, or Mississauga mean? What story do they tell?

The point is that naming and storying of places also imply profound ideological initiatives. As Seamus Deane argues in Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature, "[t]he naming or renaming of a race, a region, a person, is, like all acts of primordial nomination, an act of possession" (Eagleton, Jameson, & Said, 1990, p. 18). In other words, abstractions of identity are often narrated in mythic narratives that are grounded in iconic sites. The power of distinctive place emerges out of the synergy between time and space, stories and locale, history and geography (Osborne, 2001, 2002c, 2002d). Social memory is embedded in place and enhances peoples' cultural continuity, meaning, and identity. Furthermore, the latter are not fixed but are a series of constantly shifting stories that may be adjusted to a dynamic external world.

Symbolic places

The visual expression of this relationship of people to place is "landscape" or, more appropriately, "cultural landscape." Geographers have considered the human material imprint on nature as a tangible expression of the human interaction with Nature, evidence of societies' various genres de vie, and indicators of social values and priorities (Osborne, 1998b). Increasingly, landscapes have been deconstructed as repositories of symbolic meaning (Bender, 1993; Cosgrove, 1988; Jackson, 1980, 1984, 1994; Meinig, 1979; Osborne, 1988, 2001; Schama, 1995; Schein, 1997; Tilley, 1994; Tuan, 1974, 1977). Sack takes it further, arguing that "[p]lace and its landscape become part of one's identity and one's memory. Its features are often used as mnemonic devices . . . that help us remember and give meaning to our lives" (1997, p. 135). Schama highlights this reflexivity between the outer world and the inner person, claiming that landscapes are "culture before they are nature" and "constructs of the imagination projected onto wood and water and rock": moreover, once a dominant idea, myth, or vision of the landscape of a place becomes entrenched, "it has a peculiar way of muddling categories, of making metaphors more real than their referents; of becoming, in fact, part of the scenery" (1995, p. 61). In particular, the material rendering of social memory in a mythologized landscape transforms landscape from an external phenomenon to be engaged visually to a psychic terrain of internalized symbolic meaning. If time is fast and space is slow, "[s]pace is the ground of remembering - against time" (Laqueur, 2000, p. 8). Cosgrove strengthens this fixing of identity in memory-places: "landscape constitutes a discourse through which identifiable social groups historically have framed themselves and their relations with both the land and with other human groups, and that this discourse is related epistemically and technically to ways of seeing" (Cosgrove, 1988, p. xiv).

But perhaps Cosgrove overemphasizes the scopic/visual category of landscape: that is, simply looking at and interpreting cultural signifiers in a culture's material forms. Of course, other senses are involved. Doug Porteous' provocative Landscapes of the Mind: Worlds of Sense and Metaphor (1990) incorporates the domains of "smellscapes," "soundscapes," "bodyscapes," "pornoscapes." And then there's Gerard Manley Hopkins' fundamental concept of "inscapes" and "stresscapes" as "the outward reflection of the inner nature of a thing" (Henderson & Sharpe, 2003, p. 1677). Of all of these, perhaps it is the emotive power of music that has been most frequently harnessed to the cause of nationalism (Scruggs, 2004). The melding of martial, or cloying, or sing-alongable tunes and lyrics is to the fore in anthems and patriotic songs, with their allusions to shorelines and mountains, field and forests, sacred sites of great victories or defeats. Interestingly, perhaps it is smell that is most provocative of remembered places: fresh bread and coffee for Paris; pines for the Colorado high-country; pool-chlorine and barbequed offerings for suburban backyards. Is there a future for associative "smellscapes" to accompany the virtual worlds of cybernations?

In any event, it is this emotive power of imagined place in marshalling people's sense/senses of belonging that prompted Mitchell to declare that landscape is a verb, not a noun. That is, we should "think of landscape, not as an object to be seen or a text to be read, but as a process by which social and subjective identities are formed" (1994, pp. 1-2). From this perspective, landscape is "the most generally accessible and widely shared aide-memoire of a culture's knowledge and understanding of its past and future" (Kuchler, 1993, p. 85). To put it another way, "the material rendering of social memory in a mythologized landscape transforms landscape from an external phenomenon to be engaged visually, to a terrain of internalized symbolic meaning that serves as an emotional prompt for action in the present, through what Halbwachs has called, the semiotics of space" (Osborne, 2002b, p. 1906).

Nationalizing the state of place

People are affected by their engagement with the palpable immediacy of local places and with the nested abstractions of the regional, the national, and the global. It is from all of these that they conceptualize their place in the world and their plural identities. While such relationships may be acquired passively and informally, their importance is such that the state should, and always has, attempted to nurture them to enhance citizenship and full participation in the economic, social, and political life of the state.

Thus, in the nineteenth century in particular, young nation-states and older polities alike attempted to mobilize public imagination with the symbolic appropriation of space and the constitutional exercises of state nationalism. The transformation of Gemeinschaft/community into Gesselschaft/society (Tönnies, 1957) produced the need for Benedict Anderson's "imagined community" (1991). Just as railways, the telegraph, and national postal systems had overcome the obstacles of time and space, so also the political myopia of local identities and historical particularisms required the deployment of other strategies (Mann, 1993). Everywhere, nationalizing-states embarked on the construction of spaces and landscapes of sovereignty that materialized the metanarratives of state power in "capital-capitol complexes," imposing state architecture, inspirational monuments, and patriotic theatrics (Vale, 1992). It was an age of spectacle and the spectacular, sights and site-seeing: all together, it constituted a "frenzy of the visible" (Boyer, 1994, p. 7).

In their pursuit of social cohesion, nationalizing-states developed a "bureaucracy of memory" to promote a "sense of sameness over time and space" by advancing systems of remembering and forgetting which favoured "elite" memory over "popular" memory (Gillis, 1994, pp. 3-6). On the other hand, the volatility of the populist "vernacular" memory always threatened expressions of a monolithic national identity (Bodnar, 1992). Nevertheless, for much of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, nationalizing-states appear to have had their fingers on the pulse of the masses in integrating them into state initiatives of memory-making and manufactured identities. People seemed to need it: in fact, it was the best game in town at the time in terms of lavish - and free! - entertainment.

Patriotic topographies

Nationalizing-states have also been much aware of people's strong bonds to place, and the landscape of politicized-place became complicit in the complex calculus of identity formation. It was deployed in answering the problem posed by Benedict Anderson (1991): how do societies as large, extensive, and complex as the modern nationalizing-state achieve that profound identification with place and narrative so intrinsic to pre-modern societies? As the dominant repositories of symbolic space and time, "story-laden landscapes" came to play an instrumental role in the formation of national identities (Cosgrove & Daniels, 1988; Daniels, 1993; Kaufmann & Zimmer, 1998; Lowenthal, 1985, 1994, 1996; Matless, 1998; Osborne, 1988, 1992c, 1995; Pratt & Karvellas, 1997).

But there are complications. Bender warns us that "landscape is never inert, people engage with it, re-work it, appropriate and contest it. It is part of the way in which identities are created and disputed, whether as individual, group, or nation-state" (1993, p. 3). Certainly, the politicized aesthetic of symbolic landscapes has come under scrutiny. Consider the case of Canada's long-preferred national iconography of the North and wilderness. It has been charged that there are strong ideological forces behind the imagery of "North-ness" - no mere identification with nature and wilderness - even for the "majority huddled along the U.S. border, who never have, nor likely ever will venture far from the growing, multi-ethnic urban sprawls that are home to most Canadians" (Koring, 1998, p. 1). That is, Canada turned its back on the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes front that united, yet divided, "American" and Canadian geopolitics. It rejected the shared experience of urbanism, industry, and pluralism and turned to the complex trope of "nordicity" (Lipset, 1990).

But this iconography of the North and wilderness has rested upon ideological assumptions that searched for national distinctiveness and rejected continentalist threats - that is, the promotion of a post-World War I nativist view of national identity (Osborne, 1988, 1992a, 1992b, 1995, 2001). It was a rejection of continentalism and cosmopolitanism in favour of a pristine nativism imbued with heavy doses of chauvinism, environmental determinism, and even racialism. It is provocative to think that while the impetus for the Group of Seven may have been World War I and the new surge of Canadianism of that time, the great popularization of their work came in the exhibitions, films, calendars, and books of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s - another period of great national angst over identity and cultural independence.

This has prompted other scholars to critique the particulars of that encounter between geography and history, some arguing that with "the conflation of identity and territory comes not only the promise of a spiritual oneness of nature and self, but also the covenant of the mythical unity of a people who are defined by the landscape they inhabit" (Manning, 2003, p. 7). Noting that some contemporary landscape artists are engaged in a de-territorializing of the landscape by referring to outside influences and internal difference, Manning argues for these new connections between landscape art and Canadian identity in order to reinforce "the fissures in the hyphenated continuity between the nation and the state" (Manning, 2003, p. 12). She goes on to declare that postnational imaginations must look to landscapes as agents of territorialization and de-territorialization according to prevailing political discourses and appropriate prompts for identity. After all, the aesthetic tropes of landscape do not always cross cultural boundaries. The sublimity of mountains, snow, and ice, the pastoral constructions of rurality and domesticated countryside, and impressionistic renderings of townscapes and streetscapes are culturally coded. Plural societies seek a new array of symbolic places and representations of them.

Figuring-out place

And then there is the issue of the purposeful intrusion of meaningful sites into otherwise organically constructed landscapes. The lessons of religious hagiology and iconography were applied to the hero-cults of modern state nationalism (Hobsbawm & Ranger, 1983, 1995; Levinson, 1998; Michalski, 1998; Nelson & Olin, 2003; North, 1990; Smith, 2003). Nineteenth-century Europe's statuomanie was generated by nationalizing-states that produced national pantheons considered to be emblematic of contemporary patriotic objectives (Agulhon, 1978). For Anthony Smith, national eidolons were to be found in past heroes, geniuses, messiah-saviours, rooted in mythic homelands and Golden Ages: taken together, they served to transcend the prosaic pressure of the present through a celebration of the putative virtues and destiny of the mythic nation (Smith, 2003).

In this way, portrait-sculpture joined flags, anthems, national chronicles, currency, and coins as symbolic devices for building a sense of community, identity, and nationalism. Even - or especially - architecture strengthened national confidence, as it was "accessible to all and visible every day in the centers of emerging capital cities" (Berend, 2003, p. 80; see also Vale, 1992). These public spaces, buildings, and monuments constituted a memory system "transcribed in stone" and, together with "civic spaces," functioned as "didactic artifacts" of "ceremonial power" that communicated "exemplary deeds, national unity, and industrial glory" (Boyer, 1994, pp. 33-34). The point is that the rapid changes of the nineteenth-century world of industrialization and urbanization eroded traditional identities. State-directed programs of monumentalism provided material signifiers of shared values that served to anchor collective remembering and identity by developing a "mnemonic landscape" that symbolized and shaped perceptions about the past and the nation (Koshar, 2000).

In particular, the bones and corpses of dead people have been employed to appropriate the symbolic power of death rituals and beliefs. Of course, there are so many examples of death/bodies/burials being tied to nation-building: ceremonials around the several tombs of unknown soldiers; funerals of royalty, politicos, and popular celebrities. Thus, the re-interment of Poland's Casimir the Great (1333-1370) in 1869 was intended to "foster a sense of identity for the partitioned nation" (Dabrowski, 2004, p. 2). Dead people cast in bronze or carved in stone constitute a "dead-body politics" that serves to project the physical presence, if not the mortality, of a revered person "into the realm of the timeless of the sacred, like an icon" (Verdery, 1999, p. 5).

This was particularly true of portrait statuary that personified the nationalizing-state, scripted mythic histories in an allegorical visual text, and legitimized authority by consensual acceptance of an official historical metanarrative (Leith, 1990). Royalty, political leaders, military heroes, and mythic figures were presented in standard poses with an array of predictable accoutrements - and sometimes the recognizable visages of contemporary persons of note. There are several examples of this past/present continuum in monumentalism: Napoleon III for Vercingetorix; Mel Gibson for Wallace of Braveheart fame; and whose face graces Ottawa's Champlain? Such heroic icons were also carefully sited to underscore the particular symbolic role of particular places: the Statue of Liberty in New York, Vercingetorix at Clermont-Ferrand; King Alfred in Winchester; Bismark in Berlin; the Magyar chiefs in Budapest's Heroes' Square. And all within a decade!

Warner presents a fascinating and insightful spin on the manipulative allegory of the female form, which "both gives and takes value and meaning in relation to actual women, and contains the potential for affirmation not only of women themselves but of the general good they might represent and in which as half of humanity they are deeply implicated" (Warner, 1985, p. xx; see also Kasson, 1990; Sharp, 1996). Zelinsky (1988) tells the complex story of the image of the Statue of Liberty, "Miss Liberty." In a similar vein, I am trying to decode the enigmatic figure of Queen Boedicea on London's Westminster Bridge: sponsored by Prince Albert and admired by Queen Victoria, her unveiling seems to have been marginalized in the coronation festivities of King Edward VII, as the nation moved from the tropes of "Britishness" to those of "Anglo-Saxonism" and away from a matriarchal symbol to that of masculinity (Rutherford, 1997).

After World War I, however, monumental statuary became diagnostic of totalitarian dictatorships concerned with communicating "the face of power" in vulgar displays, bombastic architecture, and overwrought heroic monumentalism (Hobsbawm, 1995; Osborne, 1998a). Elsewhere, the very human face of suffering in the name of nationalism in World War I had much to do with the demise of monumental patriotism. Certainly, the tragedy and horror of the "Great War" had prompted a more populist and more ubiquitous mode of monumental public statuary. War monuments were erected everywhere (Gordon & Osborne, 2005; Inglis, 1998; Moriarty, 1999; Shipley, 1992). In Canada, as if to demonstrate Tilly's (1992) assertion that [there is a reciprocal relationship between war-making and state-making, it was claimed that the war had been an important nation-building enterprise. But there were discussions of different tropes of commemoration: for some, hospitals, schools, community halls, gardens, and avenues of trees were preferred to military or religious icons. In my mind, the most sensitive and outward exercise in postwar philanthropy and memory construction was "The British League for the Reconstruction of the Devastated Areas of France" (Osborne, 2001). In any event, Canada and other nationalizing-states incorporated the sacrifices of war into the national project through centrally co-ordinated programs of memorialization, commemoration, and ritualized performance. Indeed, over the last decade, the increased prominence of Canada's own National War Memorial in Ottawa's commemorative landscape provokes thoughts about Remembrance Day: what is being remembered, what is being re-presented, and to what end?

What is important in assessing the roles of monumental landscapes is that, of necessity, they become polysemic sites that often prompt calls for a redefinition of their purpose. Rather than effecting consensus-building, such sites become contested terrains where societies work out their visions of how they perceive their past and future in the context of current discourses (Nelson & Olin, 2003). They may even resort to actual or proposed "iconoclasm" (Boime, 1998). Consider all those redundant statues of Queen Victoria in postcolonial states, Marx and Lenin in post-Soviet Europe, and Saddam Hussein in an Americanized Iraq. And sometimes they are not even erected because of well-orchestrated pre-emptive iconoclasm! The proposed monument in Nelson, BC, to commemorate the 125,000 "draft-dodgers" who came to Canada in the 1960s and 1970s was cancelled in the face of virulent opposition and threats of embargos from U.S. pressure groups.

Simply put, some monuments last too long: "Public monuments are the most conservative of commemorative forms precisely because they are meant to last, unchanged, forever" (Savage, 1997, p. 4). Memorials freeze ideas in space and time as their messages of bronze, iron, marble, and granite structures survive into uncomprehending futures, but their permanence is illusory, as they are produced by political, historical, and aesthetic verities that have a short shelf-life. For some, public space is being seen as a "representational battlefield" (Savage, 1997, p. 50) and a site "of cultural conflict" (Young, 2000, p. 119). To this end, complex ambiguity and discursiveness should replace simple didacticism in future attempts at monumental commemoration. This is particularly true of plural societies such as the United States, Australia, and Canada. As Levinson argues, anyone can play the "identity politics" game, and "there is rarely a placid consensus" upon which the state may build (1998, p. 10). As he shrewdly points out, "a sometimes bitter reality about life within truly multicultural societies is that the very notion of a unified public space is up for grabs" (1998, p. 37), each group having its own lists of heroes and villains. Clearly intended to promote cohesion, they can be sites of conflict, dissent, or perhaps even worse, indifference - the ultimate insult for a monumentalized figure: "Daddy, who is that man with a pigeon on his head?"

Performing place

Planned spectacles that amount to an "architecture of people" to accompany other constructions of stone and bronze have long been part of Western political culture, going back to Greece and Rome (Leith, 1990). Throughout the second half of the nineteenth century, from Paris to London, Ottawa to Washington, Rome to Budapest, capitals everywhere turned to an array of space-integrating devices. Indeed, the Western world was subjected to "a wave of public commemoration," as choreographed spectacles of heroic histories were rendered in "lavish parades, elaborate monuments, and theatrical enactments of pivotal moments in history" (Rudin, 2003, p. 3).

Moreover, these patriotic rituals of self-worship in sacred/profane spaces (Eliade, 1987) fit into George Mosse's "civic religion" (1994), Dai Smith's "nineteenth-century creed" (1999), and Conor Cruise O'Brien's "holy nationalism" (1988). Nationalizing-states have often nurtured a patriotism akin to a state religion, in which capitals, cemeteries, and national monuments were elevated to sacred spaces. And with the democratizing of political power, as well as the associated politicization of the public, publicly performed ceremonials became essential elements of political intervention in consensus-making. Monuments and public ceremonials became spatial and temporal anchors in a world experiencing the social, economic, and ideological disruptions associated with modernity.

Such state ceremonials became occasions for the public to experience mythic-history, albeit through orchestrated commemorations and controlled spectacle, to ensure that social memory focused on particular events and places. Ideally, the involvement of large numbers of people in ritualized performances of remembering reinforces individuals' bonding with them, with what they represent, and with each other (Connerton, 1989). The national imagination has long been cultivated through the "mysterious excitements of the spectacle," the various "celebrations of sovereign and national power" that were "public events intended to dazzle the crowd with the greatness of empire and the glory of the nation" (Boyer, 1994, p. 319). Such acts of commemoration drilled the national ideological agenda into the collective memory by performance, mass participation, and repetitive re-enactment. Specific sites came to be associated with a virtual "theatre of memory" where a "master narrative" was performed to reify a "collective autobiography" (Connerton, 1991, p. 70). This combination of monuments, commemoration, and ritualized performance can become a powerful mnemonic system that produces a "mental geography in which the past is mapped in our minds according to its most unforgettable places" (Hutton, 1993, p. 80).

The twentieth century witnessed an escalation of the performative and the visualized in culture: cinema epics and dance reviews; marching bands; commercialized sport; performing bands and pop stars. It has been argued that the growing allure of commercialized spectacle and public entertainment in the domain of cinema, popular music, and sports weakened the attraction of public pageantry (Rudin, 2003). However, nationalizing-states - especially such totalitarian states as fascist Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Germany, and the Soviet USSR - continued to use existing or newly planned "space-containers" as sites for public ceremonies, public entertainment, and public participation in choreographed performances: labour demonstrations; military displays; staged spectacles (Ades, Benton, Elliott, & Whyte, 1995; Osborne, 1998a; Taylor, 1974). Even modern liberal-democratic states continue to make use of orchestrated displays of coronations, weddings, funerals, sports events, and celebratory performances to attract nationwide participation (Dabrowski, 2004; Hobsbawm, 1995; Nelles, 1999; Osborne, 1998b; Osborne & Osborne, 2004; Peer, 1998; Spillman, 1997). A critical question in all of this is why do people feel the need to line up and wave little flags at carnivalesque events such as the re-wedding and re-bedding of the anachronistic Prince of Wales.

Taken together, therefore, commemorations comprise "the practice of representation that enacts and gives social substance to the discourse of collective memory" (Sherman, 1999, p. 186) and that anchors "collective remembering" "in highly condensed, fixed, and tangible sites" (Savage, 1994, pp. 130-131). But they can also be sites where the propagation of consensual values of self-constituted "cultural centres" encounter social differences exhibited by "cultural peripheries" (Spillman, 1997). Such a perspective highlights the other possible role of public ritual: as a prompt for disinterest, hostility, or even protest. Indeed, the state's expansion of its symbolic representation of itself in public space rather than official space has occasioned challenges of hegemonic messages, especially during moments of political transformation (Walkowitz & Knauer, 2004).

It may be argued that there is a fundamental need for collective memories and group solidarities as people seek some sense of security in a rapidly changing, unfamiliar, and seemingly insecure world. But we should be on the qui vive for essentializing simplifications that propagate a concept of history that is orderly, rational, and progressive in the face of lived experience that is often more random and incoherent (Sider & Smith, 1997). This is a critical challenge to a traditional heroic iconography and allegorical symbolism of triumphalist national chronicles that serve hegemonic forces of control. No longer can the nationalizing-state seek cohesion through an ascribed list of dates, places, and heroes. Mobility, globalization, and a worldwide set of cultural loyalties have eroded essentialist nationalisms in favour of negotiating different concepts of the nation (Duara, 1995). Rather than being fixed in mythic narratives, sacred sites, monuments, and commemorations, the national landscape will be an ever-shifting kaleidoscope of evolving discourses of identity. But even the shifting images of kaleidoscopes are contained within a framework and constructed by reflections. Given a worldwide "disturbed state of mind on the threshold to the third millenium" (Michalski, 1998, p. 210), we will have to have the wit to re-imagine the standard mechanisms of social solidarity and seek out others that might be more appropriate for a diverse polity.

To this end, some nationalizing-states are coming to grips with their "shadows" and "ghosts" (Aldrich, 2005; Foote, 1997; Hodgkin & Radstone, 2003; Neal, 1998; Niven, 2002; Till, 2005). Indeed, it could be argued that civic-liberal nations such as Canada that take pride in their inclusive constitutional citizenship should be able to demonstrate their present and future moral imperatives by confronting past failures and the "shadow ground" of negative memories.

The dollars and sense of place

All this being said, in recent years, forces other than state-generated nation-building have been valorizing symbolic times and places. Millions of Canadians have encountered messages regarding Canada and Canadianness through several non-governmental initiatives: CRB Heritage Foundation's Heritage Minutes, Heritage Magazine, and Heritage Fairs; the CBC's Story of Canada on TV and in print; the Dominion Institute and its several vehicles for Canadianization of identity; the much publicized search for the "Greatest Canadian." And then there are the beer advertisements. Two decades ago, the Upper Canada Brewing Company selected a famous C. W. Jefferys image for its Rebellion brand of malt beer (Osborne, 1992c). Several other companies jumped on the advertising band-waggon with themes emphasizing Canadian landscapes and putative national attributes. Rick Salutin recently reflected on what was, perhaps, the most politically effective initiative:

Nothing belted out the new national pride like Molson's "I am Canadian" ad. I heard "Joe" do it live before a Leafs playoffs game (sigh) and the place exploded. It was sheer attitude; it had a mighty will to be a Canadian, along with zero economic or political content. Yet its raw emotional power may have affected concrete decisions like staying out of Iraq. (Salutin, 2005, p. A17)

"Raw emotional power" and marketing savvy combined to reach millions of Canadians with a message about national identity: there is a lesson there.

Similarly, the commodification of heritage and locales has been touted in the context of the economics of tourism and regional economic growth (Throsby, 2001). "It is all about "micromarketing," the "construction of increasingly differentiated consumers," and the invention of "consumer traditions" in a strategy based on the premise that "diversity sells" (Robertson 1995, p. 29). Thus, some places have constructed a tourist industry out of well-established "attraction factors": historical townscapes; aesthetics and cultural performance; marketing the picturesque and the "Other"; consuming the ambience of place. The combination of the need for new economic initiatives, nostalgia for an imagined past, and a growing demand for the consumption of entertainment has made the engagement with the past the stuff of economics (Osborne, 2002a). But there is much more to it than that.

It is also about the dissemination of culture, heritage, and identity. People in several different tourist guises are learning about Canada: tourism is also a site of identity-making, and a very effective one to boot. In Jane Jacobs' Edge of Empire, she discusses how places "reinvent" themselves in their development of "new tourism" as "sites in the process of becoming," sites that are "saturated with the cultural politics of transformation" and "influenced both by the global and the local" (Jacobs, 1996, p. 35). She proposes that heritage-making "is a dynamic process of creation in which a multiplicity of pasts jostle for the present purpose of being sanctified as heritage," a process whereby "identity is defined, debated and contested and where social values are challenged or reproduced" (p. 35). It would appear, therefore, that in our concern with how people are building collective identity, we need to also consider agencies operating beyond official heritage-cultural policy. As Mercer puts it, there is a need to understand that "a cultural policy can also be an economic policy without necessary contradiction" (2003, p. 9) - and vice-versa!

Tourism is also contributing to that more existential question of identity: who are we? This is pertinent to the central premise of this paper, as it relates the phenomenon of cultural tourism to issues of cultural practices and identity formation at various scales. At the community level, the form and scale of a tourist strategy must be considered in light of its transformative effects on the host community. At the national level, the way in which we package ourselves for others might also be a process of self-conscious self-definition. The processes targeting exogenous visitors also work on domestic travellers, as well as on the local communities acting out these scripted performances or displays of identity. That is, while aimed at external markets, there are good reasons to suggest that there might also be a reflective gaze that contributes to internal identity construction. For Pretes, "shared identity is an official goal of countries comprised of many different immigrant cultures," and it follows that a "hegemonic discourse of nationalism may manifest itself in tourism sights, both public and private, encouraging tourists to embrace national goals" (2003, pp. 125-126). That is, economics aside, tourism also plays a role in the construction and complication of identity. Just as nationalizing-states have "invented traditions," so modern tourist destinations have had to invent heritage or "storied places": theme parks, ghost tours, romanticized murals, and "historical" re-enactments and displays have all been developed to sell places. And by marketing them successfully, tourist agencies are disseminating - often uncritically - messages about place, heritage, and culture to large numbers of people.

That is, rather than globalization producing sameness, the local is the key site for "place-marketeers" to gain advantage in an international competitive environment. From this perspective, the global and the local are intertwined and mutually constituted; global processes influence local actions and prompt reactions. Local coalitions of financial and political actors are assuming a lot more power to regulate their local economies, and they are setting objectives that are place‑specific and maximize unique histories and assets of local places. However, there is also a cultural dimension to this. Moving from the pragmatic to the metaphysical, "glocalization" is not only the "compression of the world as a whole" and the "linking of localities," it also relates to the "invention" of the local: "something like an 'ideology of home' which has in fact come into being partly in response to the constant repetition and global diffusion of the claim that we now live in a condition of homelessness or rootlessness" (Robertson, 1995, p. 35). Obviously, there are ramifications for the project of nation-state construction here.

But other trends in tourism are posing problems for traditional constructs of nation, citizenship, and bounded identities. Diasporas and new tourism are challenging "the hegemonic position of the nation-state in global society through their cross-border relations and mobilities" (Coles & Timothy, 2004, p. xi). Many modern nation-states are amalgamations of "hyphenated communities" generated by historical and ongoing diasporas (Soja, 1996). Certainly this is true of Canada. Continued connections of diasporic communities with their origin-cultures, and loyalty to them, raise questions of citizenship and pose the possibility of transnationalism (Delanty, 2000; Faist, 2000; Papastergiadis, 2000; Portes, Guarnizo, & Landholt, 1999; Vertovec, 1999). Transnationalism may be defined as "the flow of people, ideas, goods and capital across national territories in a way that undermines nationality and nationalism" as categories of identification, economic organization, and political constitution (Braziel & Mannur, 2003, p. 8). That is, because of globalization and transnationalism, old models of nation-states are compelled to function in a new world of global connections, loyalties, and identities (Pearson, 2002). Diasporic tourism or "migration-circulation" may be a mechanism by which the traditional nation-state, with its grounded/rooted concepts of citizenship, becomes de-territorialized (Levitt & de la Dehesa, 2003). In these "pluri-local" or "hetero-local" locations (Zelinsky, 2001), people "feel connected with one another across geopolitical boundaries and sometimes vast distances by imagined and/or tangible common bonds" (Coles & Timothy, 2004, p. 11). That is, modern nation-states with disporic populations need to be aware of the growing reality of transnational social spaces, transnational communities, and transnational identities: a de-territorialized sense of belonging.

Conclusion: Charting new courses, seeking new routes

Given the power of place in identity formation, it is not surprising that attempts have been made to direct and choreograph the process. Managing and transforming the mundane into the national imagination is what much cultural policy is about and, in Canada, as in other nationalizing-states, art has been incorporated into political manifestos, as "the manuscript, the score and the canvas became an act as much of provocation as of aspiration" in an "aestheticization of politics" (Eksteins, 2004, p. 11).

New metaphors

Indeed, in Canada, for some it was more a politicization of aesthetics. The opponents to the "beaver and pine" school have bruited abroad their preference for a more cosmopolitan canon in several provocative tomes: back to the nativist pine again! (Fitzgerald, 1995; Henighan, 2002; Marchand, 1997; Rigelhof, 2000; Solway, 2004). For the cultural nationalists, the central issue was resistance to the forces of British imperialism (initially), Americanization (subsequently), and globalization (latterly) by an overt celebration of the Canadian context. For the opponents to this nativist project, the answer has been to engage in the greater world of literature and engage its critical standards and concerns.

Others go even further than aesthetics and reject the implicit xenophobia of the iconic landscapes of the "lone pine" and the Canadian Shield, as well as other "nativist" tropes of identity grounded in a metanarrative of Euro-Canadian conquest, transformation, and "progress" (Mackey, 1999; Manning, 2003). These are thought to be inappropriate for a pluralistic and globalizing Canada, and we have to look elsewhere for unifying discourses. Joanne Sharp, in her study of "post" nationality, argues that "[g]reater mobility of cultural forms through media, international commerce, and personal travel, undermine identities tied to the territorial nation-state" (Sharp, 1994, p. 71). In a similar vein, Rob Shields has argued for an "alternative geography" emerging from the margins that will challenge the centre to reveal "a cartography of fractures which emphasizes the relations between differently valorized sites and spaces sutured together under masks of unity such as the nation-state" (Shields, 1991, p. 278).

Perhaps this is where Canada is best defined: on its edges. This bringing of margins and edges into the centre of our discussion is appropriate in a globalizing and cosmopolitan world where hybridity is increasingly diagnostic of a society with attachments to multiple places. The monolithic metanarratives have lost their power in this fluid age of multicultural cosmopolitanism. Boundaries have lost their power of limiting state territory and the national imaginary: we are living in "delocalized transnations" (Leach, 1999. p. 164). Certainly, the standard tropes of traditional nationalisms call for centralist initiatives away from borders and edges because it is considered by some that this is where "the world's pimps and con artists congregate the most and where the market forces are most Darwinian, most virulent, and most subversive to the making of any kind of decent, collective life" (Leach, 1999, pp. 176-177). Further, as Morales points out, borders mark limits of security: "To confront a border and, more so, to cross a border presumes great risk. In general people fear and are afraid to cross borders" (Morales, 1996, p. 23).

Thus, while the xenophobic Canadian Shield may have been appropriate for a monolithic Canada, it cannot accommodate the needs of a pluralistic and globalizing Canada. That is, a Canada in which cosmopolitanism is embraced, romantic nationalisms rejected, and the complexities of hybridity engaged. To this end, Bakhtin challenges the centrist assertions of cultural integrity and argues that borders have a profound definitional role: "Every cultural act lives essentially on the boundaries: in this is its seriousness and significance; abstracted from boundaries it loses its soil, it becomes empty, arrogant, it degenerates and dies (quoted in Morson & Emerson, 1990, p. 51).

So I have redefined my geographies of identity. I have shifted from the focus of soil, territory, and place to that of the displaced, the diasporic, the hybrid, and the border: from the fixed pine to the quintessentially mobile goose. People transgress borders in "heterotopias," places where "people may transform a social order by interweaving fragments of established orders to make heterogeneous ones" (Kelleher, 2003, p. 17). It is only nationalizing-states that require solid centres and well-defined borders to ensure coherence reinforced by fictive official narratives of inclusion and exclusion.

Thus, perhaps, Niagara's time has come. I am sympathetic to its place-message. It was struck off Canada's list of potential WHO "Heritage Sites" in 2004 because its utilitarian dams, populist tourist sites, and crass commercialism "polluted" its claim. It is certainly not Victoria Falls! But is not this transformation of the pristine into the utilitarian the essence of Canada? And is not the Niagara frontier a symbol of our long-standing identity-angst regarding the United States? And as for the commercialized popular culture, is that not what Canadians and others appear to want? Perhaps it is at Niagara that we find the essence of Canada in the twenty-first century. It could move to the centre of our imagination as a synecdoche of contemporary society with all of its fractures and frictions: elite and popular culture; the sacred and profane; the imagined and the utilitarian; the expectations and the disappointments.

Multiple identities

Given the current trend of immigration, with over 50% of the population of major urban centres comprising a "visible majority," Canada has to come to grips with the further development of diverse local identities, often with profound transnational linkages. For Charles Taylor, we have to live with "multiplicities of identity" and achieve a "common understanding" by recognizing that "our being together is important to us, that it enriches us, that it is something we all cherish" (1998, p. 341). His basic assumption is that "we cannot all share the same historical identity" and that we must "accept and work with a plurality of historical identities": that is, develop "viable multinational societies" in which the citizens' "common identity" recognizes the need to preserve all "historical identities with their differences intact" (Taylor, 1998, p. 341). Taylor's Canadian model of civil nationalism is based on an adherence to liberal-democratic principles. It endorses a rational assessment of rights and obligations and has an emotional commitment to the iconic power of the idea of what the nationalizing-state stands for.

Taylor's "deep diversity" is similar to Will Kymlicka's call for a deep "cultural pluralism" that arises from "a recognition of the diversity of the histories and backgrounds we come from" (Kymlicka, 2000, p. A14; see also 1994, 1995). Further, Canadian citizenship is based on the values of freedom, equality, democracy, and human rights, and the twenty-first century requires "new models of citizenship that uphold universal values of democracy and human rights, while simultaneously respecting the various languages, cultures, and identities that exist in Canada" (Kymlicka, 2000, p. A15). Similarly, in his advocacy of "civic cosmopolitanism" in his impressive study, Citizenship in a Global Age, Delanty addresses the essential problem: "the encounter between cosmopolitanism and globalization, the clash between the civic politics of autonomy and the ruthless forces of fragmentation (2000, p. 6). Such cosmopolitan linkages are transforming the nation-state into a "moral anachronism" and demanding "global communities" and "a more moral cosmopolitan moral consciousness" (Poole, 1999, p. 154).

While some might reject his opening assumption, most would welcome a world where people have a concern for all humankind and celebrate diversity (Poole, 1999, p. 162). This is the central premise of "cosmopolitanism" as an antidote for competing universalisms: "Cosmopolitans think that there are many values worth living by and that you cannot live by all of them. So we hope and expect that different people and different societies will embody different values" (Appiah, 2006a, p. 36). Salman Rushdie goes even further and celebrates

. . . hybridity, impurity, intermingling, the transformation that comes of new and unexpected combinations of human beings, cultures, ideas, politics, movies, songs. It rejoices in mogrelisation and fears the absolutism of the Pure. Mélange, hotch-potch, a bit, a bit of this, and bit of that is how newness enters the world. (quoted in Appiah, 2006b, p. 52)

Further, such a sensitivity to different social, political, and cultural contexts need not diminish a person's primary attachment to a dominant social, political, and cultural milieu. Indeed, "[c]osmopolitanism is the hard won and difficult to sustain virtue of living with and sustaining diversity. It is perhaps the primary virtue necessary if some semblance of communal social life is to be maintained in the late modern world" (Poole, 1999, pp. 162-163). Interestingly, in a footnote riff on this theme, Poole relates it to the Scottish Enlightenment's privileging of "civility" as the virtue of appreciating differences: perhaps "politesse" and civility would be fine virtues to nurture in Canada! And this can only be attained in a state committed to a civic nationalism that is devoted to the liberal-democratic principles embedded in Habermas' "constitutional patriotism" (1995).

But perhaps the model for Canada in the twenty-first century should go further and embrace Appadurai's argument for "a heterogeneity of overlapping forms of governance and attachment" and an abandonment of "the idea that space, cultural identity, and distributive politics need to be contained in formally equal, spatially distinct, and isomorphic envelopes, the design of which undergirds the architecture of the modern state" (Appadurai, 1998, p. 448). Of course, this argument leads to a re-writing, re-reading, and even destruction of symbolically loaded national imaginaries and putative essentializing unities. That is, the crisis for modern nation-statism is not simply ethnic or cultural pluralism, but "the tension between diasporic pluralism and territorial stability" (Appadurai, 1996, p. 57).

However, the problem of building a hegemonic national identity in nation-states where there are ethnic, cultural, and religious fractions is that "dynamic 'spatialities' often run across, 'below' or 'above' the putative, flat and stable 'national homeland'" (Yiftachel & Hague, 2002, p. 168). Certainly, this is the model being pursued by the European Union and Carlo Gamberale has argued that if a European collective-identity "is to be achieved it must be by the reification of European citizenship through the quotidian exercise of civil, political, and social rights" (1997, pp. 37-59). And of course, those rights are underwritten by Habermas' "constitutional citizenship" (1995, 1998). It also speaks to a social cohesion in a Canada of shared values and equal opportunity, based on "a sense of trust, hope and reciprocity among all Canadians" (Jenson, 1998; see also Vertovec, 1999, n.p.).

As members of what has been called the "first postmodern state," Canadians must seek new shared values that are substitutes for the former "conventional commonalities of ethnicity and history" (Gwyn, 1995, pp. 254-255). What are needed are initiatives that bind us together in a polity that is sensitive to difference while still pursuing commonly agreed upon goals and national priorities in a liberal-democratic polity bound together by a constitutional patriotism that embraces the promises of a cosmopolitan pluralism. This done, perhaps the container of Canadianness - the nationalizing-state - may be sustained as a coherent source of cultural leadership. Perhaps it will work, if the branches of the patriotic pine provide shade for the diasporic goose!


  1. A longer version of this paper, Placing culture, setting our sites, locating identity: From native pines to subversive dahlias!, was prepared for the Strategic Research and Analysis Directorate, Department of Canadian Heritage, in conjunction with the Initiative to Study the Social Effects of Culture (ISSEC), 1 April 2005, which addressed issues of the branding and marketing of place. They will be the subject of another paper.

  2. Much of what follows is derived from some thirty years or more of thinking about the articulation of place-identities in art and literature, the development of symbolic landscapes as a process of identity formation, and the deliberate intervention by the state in ideologically charged place-making. I trust that there is evidence of synthesis and even a degree of synergy as I grapple with the complexity of multigrounded, transnational, hybrid Canadian identities.


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