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I feel Canadian : affective practices of nation and nationalism on Canadian television Bociurkiw, Marusya


In this dissertation, I examine how ideas about the nation are produced via affect, especially Canadian television's role in this discursive construction. I analyze Canadian television as a surface of emergence for nationalist sentiment. Within this commercial medium, U.S. dominance, Quebec separatism, and the immigrant are set in an oppositional relationship to Canadian nationalism. Working together, certain institutions such as the law and the corporation, exercise authority through what I call 'technologies of affect': speech-acts, music, editing. I argue that the instability of Canadian identity is re-stabilized by a hyperbolic affective mode that is frequently produced through consumerism. Delimited within a fairly narrow timeframe (1995 -2002), the dissertation's chronological starting point is the Quebec Referendum of October 1995. It concludes at another site of national and international trauma: media coverage of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath. Moving from traumatic point to traumatic point, this dissertation focuses on moments in televised Canadian history that ruptured, or tried to resolve, the imagined community of nation, and the idea of a national self and national others. I examine television as a marker of an affective Canadian national space, one that promises an idea of 'home'. I discuss several overlapping texts: the television programs themselves, their political and cultural contexts, and their convergence with other forms of media. More specifically, I privilege television's speech acts, its generic repetitions and compulsive returns, particularly in the context of recent trauma theory. As part of the larger text of television, I also ponder the flow- between television and body, between program and commercial, between TV, telephone and internet, and between television and the spaces of home, the workplace, and the street. Using an interdisciplinary methodology informed by post-structuralist thought, and a writing style inflected by autobiographical modes, I argue that collective affect frequently operates in relation to media representations of nationalism, producing national practices framed by a television screen.

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