Culture Dismantling Identity Politics: The Term Paper

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374). It has been assumed that despite these internal cultural differences, overarching political similarities, shared history, or an interest in national diversity would be enough to unite the Canadian people under a single identity.

However, Kymlicka's (2003) close examination of the national and international has illustrated that they are largely shared by most modern, Western nations. Any presumed Canadian uniqueness is largely mythical (p. 368). Of course, mythology can be exceedingly unifying, and there is certainly an interest in Canada of perpetuating the dominant national myths of identity: Canadians as good global citizens, as part of the Western tradition, as a young modern nations, and as distinctly non-American. These national characteristics are generally championed as core parts of a unified Canadian identity, despite their largely exaggerated characteristics and despite the fact that these values do not necessarily unify the myriad subcultural groups within the nation. Aboriginal groups will probably always persist as distinct social and political units within Canada. Every attempt to nationalize the Quebecois have only managed to strengthen their sub-state nationalism (Kymlicka, 2003: p. 373). After centuries of attempting to force a singular vision of national identity on all subcultural groups within Canada that is uniquely Canadian, increasingly we find there is an acceptance of persistent difference and division within the nation.

Despite this, Canada as a nation has not crumpled or torn itself apart via internal
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strife and division. The nation's political and social institutions have been as successful as ever even as identity politics has become increasingly banal and multi-level, fluid identities have proliferated (Kymlicka, 2003: pp. 383-385). The obvious conclusion that can be drawn from this social and political reality is that identity politics is no longer the defining factor in determining the success of a nation. For instance, despite consistently failing to identify themselves as Canadian instead of Quebecois, that particular subgroup still utilizes and participates in Canadian social and political institutions. They still rely on public services like the police, still express their political identity through existing Canadian institutions, and still respect the rule of law that is in effect for the entire nation. Since the success of social and political institutions is dependent on the willing and active participation of citizens, and since cultural distinct groups seem quite willing to participate with one another, it stands that modern participation in the state is based on the legitimacy of its institutions (Kymlicka, 2003, p. 380). Identity politics no longer determines whether or not the modern, Western nation will succeed or fail. It is more important to have a citizenry that, while cultural distinct, nonetheless is willing to work together within the existing system of social and political institutions in the interests of the nation as a whole.


Sources Used in Documents:


Kymlicka, W. (2003). Being Canadian. Government and Opposition, 38(3), pp. 357-385.

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