Culture, Communication and National Identity: The Case of Canadian Television

By Richard Collins

© 1990

‘There can be no political sovereignty without culture sovereignty.’ So argued the CBC in 1985 in its evidence to the Caplan/Sauvageau Task Force on Broadcasting Policy. Richard Collins challenges this assumption. He argues in this study of nationalism and Canadian television policy that Canada’s political sovereignty depends much less on Canadian content in television than has generally been accepted. His analysis focuses on television drama, at the centre of television policy in the 1980s.

Collins questions the conventional image of Canada as a weak national entity undermined by its population’s predilection for foreign television. Rather, he argues, Canada is held together, not by a shared repertoire of symbols, a national culture, but by other social forces, notably political institutions.

Collins maintains that important advantages actually and potentially flow from Canada’s wear national symbolic culture. Rethinking the relationships between television and society in Canada may yield a more successful broadcasting policy, more popular television programming, and a better understanding of the links between culture and the body politic.

As the European Community moves closer to political unity, the Canadian case may become more relevant to Europe, which, Collins suggests, already fears the ‘Canadianization’ of its television. He maintains that a European multilingual society, without a shared culture or common European audio-visual sphere and with viewers watching foreign television, can survive successfully as a political entity – just as Canada has.

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Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 390 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.3in x 9.2in
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Quick Overview

A European multilingual society, without a shared culture or common European audio-visual sphere and with viewers watching foreign television, can survive successfully as a political entity – just as Canada has.

Culture, Communication and National Identity: The Case of Canadian Television

By Richard Collins

© 1990

‘There can be no political sovereignty without culture sovereignty.’ So argued the CBC in 1985 in its evidence to the Caplan/Sauvageau Task Force on Broadcasting Policy. Richard Collins challenges this assumption. He argues in this study of nationalism and Canadian television policy that Canada’s political sovereignty depends much less on Canadian content in television than has generally been accepted. His analysis focuses on television drama, at the centre of television policy in the 1980s.

Collins questions the conventional image of Canada as a weak national entity undermined by its population’s predilection for foreign television. Rather, he argues, Canada is held together, not by a shared repertoire of symbols, a national culture, but by other social forces, notably political institutions.

Collins maintains that important advantages actually and potentially flow from Canada’s wear national symbolic culture. Rethinking the relationships between television and society in Canada may yield a more successful broadcasting policy, more popular television programming, and a better understanding of the links between culture and the body politic.

As the European Community moves closer to political unity, the Canadian case may become more relevant to Europe, which, Collins suggests, already fears the ‘Canadianization’ of its television. He maintains that a European multilingual society, without a shared culture or common European audio-visual sphere and with viewers watching foreign television, can survive successfully as a political entity – just as Canada has.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 390 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.3in x 9.2in
  • Author Information

    Richard Collins is Honorary Visiting Professor in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies. He also holds a fractional post as Professor of Journalism at City University London. Previously he has held posts at the Open University, London School of Economics and Political Science, Goldsmiths’ College University of London, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and elsewhere. He also served as Head of Education and Deputy Director at the British Film Institute. He is the author of several books on television, including Satellite Television in Western Europe; Television, Policy and Culture, and with Nicholas Garnham and Gareth Locksley, The Economics of Television: The UK Case.