Canadian Cultural Policy-Making at a Time of Neoliberal Globalization

By Milz, Sabine | English Studies in Canada, March-June 2007 | Go to article overview

Canadian Cultural Policy-Making at a Time of Neoliberal Globalization


Milz, Sabine, English Studies in Canada


The imperative for research is to identify precisely what remains national today in what has historically been constructed as national, to decode what national means today, and to ascertain the new territorial and institutional conditionalities of nation states.

Saskia Sassen

IN THE INTRODUCTION TO THE SPECIAL ISSUE "Canadian Literature and the Business of Publishing" of Studies in Canadian Literature (SCL), Jennifer Andrews and John Ball observe that "in most studies of Canadian literature, the material stuff of publication is bracketed off in favour of what can be said about a text's (immaterial) words" (2). They further note that " [w]hen the study of the published book and the publication processes has been discussed, it has been treated as a specialized area of research" (2), as in the case of the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing at Simon Fraser University or in special issues such as the SCL one which sets out to foreground the processes of literary production in Canada, that is, the material side of literature. Andrews and Ball introduce the special SCL issue by calling attention to the many challenges Canada's book industry has faced over the past decades as an economy of small scale characterized by "huge geographical distances and regional differences ... [and] the easy availability of British and American books published with economies of scale" (1-2). They point to the crucial role governmental policies and programs as well as the literary power struggles of the youth generation of the 1960s and 1970S--Of "the many stubborn idealists, renegades, adventurers, bookworms, scholars, and, yes, fortune-seekers" (2)--played in the development of an independent Canadian literature and book industry. These actors not only initiated and advocated the Canada-wide emergence of independent Canadian-owned presses in the 1960s but also created a climate in which these publisers could take risks with promoting unknown authors and authors writing about unconventioanl themes. Recalling the nationalist vision of Canadian Literature's centennial "Publishing in Canada" issue, Andrews and Ball insist that "publishing in Canada is unique and vital to our national identity" (3); it performs a key national function, and that seems to be what motivates Andres and Ball's call for a method of Canadian literary study that recognizes the materiality of literature.

While the argument developed in this paper is motivated by a claim or desire that also underlies Andrews and Ball's emphasis on the "national" --namely the claim or desire that the function of Canadian literary goods and services is irreducible to the logic of the market, that is, to the logic of "guaranteed commercial success" (4)--it reframes this claim or desire --expressed by Andrews and Ball as an issue of national culture and identity--as an issue of cultural decision-making and democratic public culture. Critical invocations of national cultural value such as Andrews and Ball's are complicated and troubled by the fact that, as this paper will show, contemporary cultural policies and programs are inaugurated by a federal government which subscribes to the neoliberal paradigm in its discourse of "national culture" and its protection of Canadian literature and its production from direct market dependency and commodification. In view of this nexus of the national and the neoliberal, I will argue, the contemporary study of the materiality of Canadian literature, and of its mediated-institutionalized structural modes in particular, needs to engage in processes of querying the habitual, modern notions of democracy and the public sphere and, more specifically, of how these notions currently play out in the contexts of Canada's public cultural sphere. This paper engages in such a process of querying to decode what the terms "national" and "public" mean today in the institutional contexts of Canadian literature and its production.

I will start this process of querying and decoding by examining the issue of cultural protection/ism in the historical context of the post Second World War projects of cultural nationalism and cultural industries. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Canadian Cultural Policy-Making at a Time of Neoliberal Globalization
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.