The Media, Globalization, and the Problem of National Identity


Global interconnection and the transforming possibilities of the media have long been familiar concepts to Canadians, thanks to the speculations of intellectuals such as Marshall McLuhan and Glenn Gould. Yet the role of Canada’s oldest and most highly funded media voice, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, remains hotly debated, and this forms part of a contentious dialogue between those who favour enthusiastic participation in the U.S. dominated neoliberal drive toward globalization, and those who are suspicious of aspects of this. Canadian foreign policy, generally favourable to participation, has attempted to build in safeguards in the cultural domain, and this paper explains why.

The Media, Globalization and the Problem of National Identity: A Canadian Perspective

Canada, like other countries, is being challenged in every aspect of its economic, political and cultural life by the impact of globalization. In recent decades, media rhetoric has promoted the vision of a world in process of unification, largely as a result of technology’s power to dissolve borders and speed communication. In Canada, as elsewhere, however, perspectives on globalization differ sharply, and these differences have been well defined by numerous analysts, some of whom have pointed to flaws in some of the more optimistic scenarios. Although many see the globalization process as inevitable, and argue that it will do no damage to nation states and may usher in a new era in world prosperity (Watson), others question the neoliberal agenda that seems to be driving these changes (Barlow; Barlow and Clarke). They point to possible dangers for democracy, cultural expression and tradition in the erosion of local and national traditions and power structures. ( Targ and Cormier, 161).The fears of this last group often resemble science fiction predictions of a bleak future world controlled by large corporations with complete control of technology and utter indifference to the values of individual freedom, cultural expression and social well-being. (Pohl and Kornbluth, Dick, Brunner).

Despite such dystopian warnings, it can be argued that the possibly dire effects of globalization are often concealed by glib rhetoric and powerful mythologies. Whatever facts may qualify it, the idea of a single interconnected world has become a necessary article of faith, an uplifting vision. Or, to put it another way, old dreams of a world-wide Utopia seem now to have meshed with opportunistic economic factors and to have been made fully realizable by the new technologies. However mundane the reality of the present trends, their historical relevance and ethical authenticity seem to be guaranteed by visionaries and secular prophets such as Tennyson (“the Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World”), H.G. Wells (‘the world state”) and Olaf Stapledon (“planetary consciousness”); by religious thinkers such as Teilhard de Chardin (the “noosphere’); by philosophers like David Bohm (“holism” versus fragmentation), and– with some qualifications–even by engineers and scientists such as Buckminster Fuller (“spaceship earth”) and James Lovelock (“Gaia”).

Before examining the concrete challenges faced by Canada in relation to globalization and the media, therefore, it may be useful to refer to the work of two Canadian myth-makers whose thinking touches this area. I refer to Marshall McLuhan and his well-known ideas on the media and “the global village” and to Glenn Gould, the remarkable piano virtuoso, who speculated broadly on the experience of music, technology and self-transcendence in art.

McLuhan’s multifarious ideas can be best summed up in one of his own sentences: “All media are active metaphors in their power to translate experience into new forms” (McLuhan, 64). McLuhan’s analysis of television contradicted the general sense that it is a passive experience, a kind of technological wallpaper. He suggested rather that it is participatory, a sensually inviting mosaic with a low-definition performance that invites involvement rather than analysis or critical attention on the part of its viewers—a thought that seems remarkably prophetic not only of our current TV news, but of the internet. McLuhan pointed to television’s capacity to embrace and serve a huge diversity of tastes, and to its power to wrap each viewer in what seems a private experience, a description anticipating what Toffler asserted about computer use and applying even more pointedly to present-day cable broadcasts. As we move closer to converging technologies and to applications of “virtual reality” McLuhan’s ideas seem more relevant than ever, as does his probing question, viz., “might not our current translation of our entire lives into the spiritual form of information seem to make of the entire globe, and of the human family, a single consciousness” (McLuhan, 67).

Glenn Gould shared McLuhan’s positive evaluation of technology. He wrote that “by far the most important electronic contribution to the arts is the creation of a new and paradoxical condition of privacy. . . electronic transmission. . . [encourages the audience] “to react not as captives and automatons but as individuals capable of an unprecedented spontaneity of judgement” (Gould, 99).As some recent scholarship asserts, Gould saw technology as a vehicle to enrich and deepen perception. Divorcing himself from “the public,” he used Bach’s fugues to redefine the significance of ambiguity in music, embraced “process” over dualism, urged a new aesthetic morality, and articulated a concept of ecstasy almost parallel to that of traditional mysticism (Harris, 51-6).

Both Gould and McLuhan suggested that technology might give birth to new spiritual dimensions with broad human potential; Gould with his Protestant background saw these in a private and “immanent” form, while McLuhan’s Catholicism focused his attention on self-transcending structures and collectivities. Both thinkers had seriously flawed perspectives. Gould underrated face-to-face or unmediated experience while elevating his own inhibitions and aesthetic preferences to the level of universals; McLuhan wallowed in contradiction and “became for many a vulgarizer, a charlatan, an enthusiast for pop trash, an apologist for the new technologies” (Powe,21).

In terms of this paper, however, McLuhan and Gould are extremely significant as Canadian prophets who wrestled with issues of mass taste and personal expression, as thinkers who probed the deeper implications of technology, and who sought to reconcile the transformations effected by new media with traditional cultural artifacts and moralities. The contradictions in their approaches recapitulate on the personal level many of the problems besetting Canadian culture as it strives to preserve its identity while participating fully in the emerging global culture. In this context, Gould’s and McLuhan’s tacit acceptance or even approbation of an economic system underpinned by values of selfishness, is not only a biographical fact: it points to unresolved issues in Canadian society today.

The American analyst Herbert Schiller has written persuasively of the co-opting of the international media by the multi-national corporations and has pointed to Canada as the foremost example of a country exposed to an almost unrestricted flow of U.S. information (1969, 1989, 2000). Since the beginning of radio, and especially after the takeover of the incipient Canadian film industry by the Americans, and continuing through the television era, Canadians have been bombarded by American messages, mythical and artistic, ideological and commercial. The statistics alone make a strong case for cultural protection.

In Canada 90% of the movies, 75% of the newstand magazines sold, and 50% of the music played on the radio are American (Copps, 2001). Federal ownership rules prevent American takeovers of the Canadian book industry, yet our bookstores have followed the American model, and the giant American and international publishers exert a huge influence on the book business and the reading tastes of Canadians. On another front, Canadian money is often inadequate for expensive television and film projects, and to obtain financing Canadian stories often have to be tailored (in effect, de-Canadianized) for an international market. Without Canadian government support of our culture, in the form of both funding and of legislation, it seems likely that the Americans would virtually take over the most of the cultural industries in Canada.

Our protectionism is indeed blatant. Book publishing is guarded from takeover and subsidized to the tune of about $10-20 million a year. The Canadian Radio & Telecommunications Commission regulations call for about 60% Canadian content during a television broadcast day. As of 1998, 35% of weekly broadcast music must be Canadian. Yet Canada’s attempt to deal with the American split-run magazines– publications like Sports Illustrated which bleed precious dollars from Canadian advertisers without having any significant Canadian content– ran into a roadblock. In 1997 the World Trade Organization disallowed the Canadian government’s move to eliminate these magazines, and when Canada proposed Bill C-55 to compensate for this, the Clinton administration threatened economic sanctions. Canada was forced to compromise, leaving several of its popular magazines at some risk (Henighan, 2000, 271-2).

In order to look more closely at the complex problems posed for countries attempting to protect their national identity, I will focus on Marshall McLuhan’s favourite medium, namely television. To do so, I must begin with a few observations on radio broadcasting. The advent of radio meant the virtual abolition of the border between Canada and the United States. By the 1920s Canadians were already listening in large numbers to American programs, and local stations were increasingly controlled by American interests, but the establishment of the first coast-to-coast network (run by Canadian National Railways) made the idea of public ownership acceptable. The Aird Commission, appointed by MacKenzie King in 1929, recommended the creation of a national broadcasting company, and in 1932 the Bennett government acted on the Aird recommendations and passed the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Act. The publicly-owned Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission, which, under new (1936) legislation, became the CBC, began with eight stations and various privately-owned affiliates. Within a few years the CBC was powered up sufficiently to control Canadian airwaves (Henighan, 1996, 22-3).The development of indigenous programming took longer but was remarkably successful. In the sphere of arts and news, English-language CBC radio matured well, while Québec broadcasters created their own discussion shows, serials and popular features, and did so with great aplomb. CBC radio certainly fostered indigenous culture; drama in particular was excellent and ubiquitous, especially after World War II. Between 1944 and 1961, 3000 original Canadian plays were produced in English Canada, and, starting in the 1930s, more than 1500 in Quebec (Henighan, 1996, 23). At the same time, Classical music, opera, critical arts commentary, and ideas programs also flourished on such venues as “CBC Wednesday Night.”

In 1951 the Royal Commission on National Development in Arts, Sciences and Letters, (the so-called Massey-Levesque Commission, which set the tone for government funding of culture in Canada), reaffirmed the CBC radio’s centrality to Canadian radio broadcasting and its importance as a cultural bastion. In that very decade of the 1950s, however, television was poised to become the reigning popular medium, a fact largely unanticipated by the Massey Commissioners. In view of CBC radio’s long experience with the powerful American cultural challenge, and in the light of the frequent concerns for Canadian identity expressed in successive government reports, one must be dumfounded at the failure of successive governments and the CBC management to take the most obvious step to promote Canadian culture on television: i.e., to insist on the creation of a elite or at least of a nation-centred channel, one that that would have been a television equivalent to CBC FM-stereo. That no such CBC service was established after television came to the fore in the early 1950’s is really puzzling. Of course to compete with American sitcoms and popular drama was financially impossible, but it is surprising that the corporation simply could not take the necessary steps to achieve the status of a true “public broadcaster,” one that would eschew sports and concentrate on quality news and investigative reporting, innovative arts programming, and other offerings that would create a mirror in which Canadians could define themselves and acknowledge their oneness despite diversity of regions and languages.

Once the 1980s had passed, and cable had arrived, the possibility of such a channel became unlikely. The appearance in recent decades of even more radically new technologies (the so-called 500- channel cable universe; television-web interaction and others) seemed to foreclose on the old option. Nonetheless, the CBC management still seems wedded to the old idea of a national channel which will present a mosaic of broadcasting material with a Canadian focus, much of which will be underpinned by continued sports broadcasting.

Many, however, question the CBC’s reliance on sports as one of its main audience attractions. Given the corporation’s own rhetoric about its high cultural mission, its enthusiasm for sports broadcasting does at first seem paradoxical. Yet one of the great national moments in Canada’s recent history was its gold medal victories in men’s and women’s hockey at the 2002 winter Olympics. After the Canadian men’s hockey team defeated the USA, spontaneous patriotic celebrations broke out all over Canada. Even the New York Times (February 25, 2002, section D) tacitly acknowledged the power of sports to create a sense of national unity and fervour. It seems quite appropriate that the CBC was the broadcaster to deliver this kind of national entertainment to a coast to coast audience, for the CBC did what the commercial networks would almost certainly not have done: it concentrated on the national team and did not turn away to events that appealed to the “international” (read American) audience.

Other critics question the relevance of old-fashioned coast to coast network broadcasting itself. They suggest that cutbacks in local news coverage have severed the CBC from its roots, and note the falling audience interest in the CBC national news, recently run as a package with token local coverage in the second half of an hour time-slot. Such critics suggest that the CBC network should be replaced by a series of cable channels that would deliver Canadian content to niche audiences, or that the network should package Canadian content for sale to existing cable channels. But to break up the CBC in this manner would surely destroy it as a national voice, and given the general unpopularity of shows with strong Canadian content, packaged shows (apart from sports) would not be bought by commercial channels interested in gaining new advertisers.

The CBC’s most vociferous critics, however, are the Canadian commercial broadcasters. In Canada, media empires controlled by newspaper baron Conrad Black and Winnipeg-based communications magnate Izzy Asper have in recent years swung various information sources in the direction of the right. Their interventions, however, have gone far beyond editorializing in the old sense and have begun to sanction distortion of news in the name of ideological righteousness. Asper’s Can-West Global in particular has been criticized for editing the copy of its print reporters on ideological grounds (Newspaper Guild of Canada). Its management has also been a vocal opponent of the CBC’s national mission.

The clash here is between two ideologies, one of public service the other of private enterprise. Criticism of the CBC from Asper and others goes somewhat as follows. The CBC is a “fat cat.” Supported by tax dollars, it is unfairly competitive with the media networks that have to show profitability. Furthermore, the CRTC forces Canadian content rules on the private broadcasters, while the CBC’s Canadian content as measured by the ratings is uninteresting to viewers. (This assumption needs to be challenged. Certainly, mediocre Canadian content is not accepted by viewers–and should not be accepted–simply because it is Canadian. And of course viewers saturated with American content may find it difficult to enthuse over homegrown material. They do not like it because they have been programmed to like something else. The point, however, is to show them some good Canadian shows and to give them a choice.) Asper has also argued that Canwest-Global should be allowed to count “info-mercials” in computing its Canadian content time. One wonders whether this argument is merely designed to be provocative, to be a kind of reductio ad absurdum, or whether the notion of commercialism is so ingrained in the minds of the private broadcasters that they really do not understand the difference between serious content and advertising.

While Canadians debate the respective merits of public television and private broadcasting, American television has developed a formidable world presence, exerting strong pressure on a Canada unable to make up its mind on what kind of broadcasting best serves Canadian interests.

Traditional United States radio and television broadcasting functioned through coast to coast networks and these had the appearance of national services. Nonetheless, such broadcasting was clearly driven by commercial goals and by the desire to woo a perceived audience of consumers– as a result, the audience was coddled and seldom challenged. Changing audience perceptions was the prerogative of a few admired but carefully boundaried “originals”–in the news realm such figures as Edward R. Murrow and Eric Severeid; in the field of elite drama, music and discussion—Norman Corwin, Orson Welles, Alistair Cooke, Lyman Bryson and Oliver Daniel. When during the Vietnam war, Walter Cronkite’s national news moved gradually in the direction of exposé, the whole broadcasting system, the viewers, and indeed the entire American nation, received a shock.

The arrival of cable and satellite (a tool-driven revolution as defined by Freeman Dyson) fragmented broadcasting. (Dyson, 50). Indeed one could go further and say it fractilized broadcasting in the sense that it didn’t merely divide it into small units but created a complex set of surfaces that are themselves relatively unboundaried. For example, not only does cable create niche audiences designated by interest groups (sports, decorating, books, performing arts, news)—it allows for the shuffling of material among these groups and for web-based interaction with audiences. A sports station may do biography, news, drama, criticism and engage various audiences in web-based dialogue on some of these things. Also, programs tend to circulate among differing niche stations and often break the boundaries set by the niche interest groups, for example a film on Leni Riefenstahl that is played on a sports, news, biography or woman’s channel.

At this point we can see far more point in McLuhan’s principle of “pattern recognition,” his campaign to break down linearity, than in his mythical proposition of a media global village centering the world’s attention around certain themes and values. The “audience as anthologist” is the real fact emerging from the new broadcast media alignments. The most dynamic part of this is the new possibility of audience participation and dialogue, for the web, with its discussion groups and web pages, can turn anyone with the requisite (and very inexpensive) technology into a commentator and reporter, able to “piggy back” into a world-discussion via the thematic listings of the present-day web search instruments.

American broadcaster Ted Koppel made this very point in an interview with Larry King (March 11, 2002), conducted during the period when Koppel’s news analysis show was apparently slated to be shut down by ABC in favour of entertainer David Letterman. Both Koppel and King showed an awareness that they themselves are–in terms of audience–only among the most accessible voices in a new Babel in which almost everyone is crying out to be heard—and can be heard. True, in the new Babel the myriad voices often seem to cancel each other out–but not quite. For with the audience fully participating as anthologists (and possibly as Grail questers looking for the one true healing fact), it is possible to find one’s way out of the labyrinth and use the new communications media to gain perspective on a given problem, to collect information, and even–in rare cases–to achieve enlightenment as to the relevant processes of whatever it is that one is interested in. Calling linked web conversations “threaded” is an effective way of evoking the very applicable underlying myth of Ariadne and Theseus. But who is the Minotaur?

Clearly it is the profit-making corporations, upholders of the concept of the everlasting “bull” market. In this light the issue of nationalism and ownership and the well-known movement toward “synergy” among the media business empires comes into play. The international media conglomerates, having bought into cable, film, the world wide web and other media–sometimes to the detriment of their business plans– are more than ever driven by the profit motive. They want to devour everything. The older networks had similar ambitions but were at least limited in scope and highly visible; the cable owners are less so. Once again, to use a mythical analogy, cable is a kind of Tarnhelm of broadcasting that allows invisibility, but it should not mask the essential fact of the rapid incursion of private profit-making enterprises into what might be public spaces, or in more objective terms, the fact that material and not spiritual, intellectual or aesthetic treasure is what is at stake.

In this sense, the concept of “international” media fits well with the neoliberal agenda of infinite expansion and control by the private sector and leads to the casting off of notions of the public good, often espoused by public broadcasters or national services. To devour is to reduce to nothing, and the principle of the conglomerates is to allow the audience everything –convenience contentment, an excellent self-image manufactured especially for them by the advertisers–everything but real identity. Real identity occurs in terms of family, community and nation, and is ensured by control of language, including metaphor, myth and by the deconstructive power of coherent argument. Critique of society can only exist where true identity is given voice; it can never be generated in the context of the spurious values, or the sleeping citizens, mostly promoted by the advertisers.

In this light, the important buttresses against the detrimental effects of internationalism can be seen to include, first, national public broadcasting systems, such as the BBC, National Public Radio and the PBS stations in the U.S.A. and –with some qualifications—the CBC. Second, local radio and television with a community grounding. Third, the web when it is used creatively by individuals to further self-development apart from a collectivity imposed by advertisers and commercially generated fads.

In all of this language is important but not totally determinative. It is important that Canada speak and broadcast in both English and French, for only in so doing can it further the self-identity and community affiliations of all its citizens. It is important for Mexico to offer Spanish language broadcasting to offset the barrage of English-language cable coming from the north, but the value of this is lessened if the gestures, images and stories in Spanish simply mimic or imitate American gestures, images and stories. (Of course the same thing applies to French and Québec broadcasting). In fact when stations broadcasting in Spanish become too Americanized we could speak of them as being “dubbed” into American culture. As such, they are of no more value in terms of national identity than the American shows that are broadcast in Mexico after being dubbed in Spanish. Although communicating in one’s own language produces a certain unique flavour of “taking possession,” there is no mystical factor in the language itself, Spanish or any other, that protects the audience against the infusion of alien cultural values when the content ensures that these are present.

In 1997 an article appeared in the Los Angeles Times with the intriguing title: “Canadian Culture: Whatever it is, they want to preserve it.” The writer, Craig Turner, explored some of the ambiguities of Canadian cultural protectionism and also raised the thorny question of how Canadians decide which of their cultural productions are sufficiently “Canadian” to warrant such protection (Turner). The studied bafflement evident in this article is quite understandable, and the issue can hardly be resolved here, yet the overall principle is surely firm: Canadian culture is what Canadians choose to make it; it is what Canadians decide is important enough in their national heritage to merit some protection. While many are suspicious of the very idea of “national culture” it is surely a positive and viable concept when understood as an opportunity for individual artists to create art based in a personal, local and ultimately national matrix. If, in the end, individual creativity transcends national boundaries and becomes planetary or universal ( as we could argue Verdi, Tolstoy and Mark Twain became universal out of very specific environments and cultures) then so much the better.

The real threat to Canadian culture (to all integral national and local cultures) is not the trans-national communication those cultures may sometimes achieve or strive for, or the existence of new technologies and media. The enemy is the uniformity imposed on world cultures by international (American-dominated) media that take it as their mission to provide all people and nations with entertainment and news. Far from being value-free, such entertainment and news is often loaded with messages traditionally associated with a specifically American mythos. When the world accepts news and entertainment from such a source it also gets messages specific to the United States, images of the “perfect” society, guilt-free and threatened only by “evil” outside forces, a society whose prime function is to further the notion of “improvement” based on consumer values and a secular religion of “feeling good.” The way the American media, especially CNN, reported the September 11 tragedy and the ensuing American crusade against terrorism offers unimpeachable proof of this bias. There was almost no attempt to analyze the roots of terrorism, and an immediate acceptance of the unexamined catchwords of “freedom” and “liberty,” combined with the adoption of President Bush’s cowboy western sloganeering. “Osama bin Laden: wanted, dead or alive.” Here, notions of media objectivity were submerged in the rhetoric of a wounded imperium. The White House and Pentagon did not need to mount a strong anti-terrorist propaganda campaign; their work was done for them by United States television networks that saw their chief post-September 11 mission as the restoration of wounded American national pride and the upholding of the unexamined values of Bush’s “crusader” ethics.

None of this seeks to deny that commercial broadcasting and even the American assumption of the role of planetary policeman may have their good points. The problem is that while American values speak constantly of “freedom,” this freedom often turns out to be limited to those who are willing to absolve themselves from concerns about free enterprise’s “fallout” of poverty and social injustice. This devil’s bargain in the name of “prosperity” often involves the abandonment of the values of soul and spirit and the shedding of responsibility for others less fortunate, values traditionally taught by wise thinkers and authentic religious traditions. The American privately-owned media have a strong vested interest in promoting the most obvious collective values, an unexamined consumerism, over the deeper insights generated by the perspectives of the most profoundly original American thinkers, Thoreau, William James, Dewey, Mumford, Niebuhr, Rachel Carson, while also ignoring the creative alternatives visible at many levels in the other world cultures.

The opportunities for freedom and creativity that writers like McLuhan, Gould, Toffler, and others found in the new media are very likely to be offset by limitations imposed by the free enterprise ethic of the emerging American-dominated world monoculture which is even now transforming some of the key media, e.g. cable television and the world wide web, in dubious ways. These include: creating selective and biased “news”; saturating the world with American-style entertainment; excluding many potential audiences from the information revolution by pricing and fee practices (e.g., we already have to pay more for interactive cable and will soon have to pay extra for web searches); and favouring advertising revenue over content. In view of some of these trends it is hard to agree with the creative future envisaged for the new interactive media even by such excellent analysts as Janet Murray of MIT. (Murray, 280-4).In this context it is perhaps easy to understand the efforts of Canadian Heritage Minister Sheila Copps, who, after making some less-than-successful efforts to deal with American cultural intrusions head on, tried another route. In 1998, she organized a meeting in Ottawa of some 20 countries, a conference that was declared to be “an alliance to preserve national culture” in the face of U.S. world domination. The main theme of this conference was that “culture is not a commodity” and should be excluded from trade agreements. Minister Copps knows very well that culture is indeed a commodity, but in calling this conference she sought to remind some Canadians (and the American government) that culture is not merely a commodity.

In 1999 the Cultural Industries section of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade suggested that a New International Instrument on Cultural Diversity (NIICD) should be developed and activated. Minister Copps’s Department of Canadian Heritage then launched a web site to create an international network for cultural policy. This was followed by the creation of a World Coalition for Cultural Diversity (WCCD). A subsequent meeting in Mexico City discovered common concerns among Mexican and Canadian artists. The WCCD also documented and presented to the Hemispheric Social Alliance perceived threats to cultural diversity.

In the light of such developments, one can understand the importance of Canada’s initial negotiating position on culture and trade, a position set forth to the World Trade Organization in 2001 by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs. This stated that “it [i.e., Canada] will not make any commitment that restricts our ability to achieve our cultural policy objectives until a new international instrument, designed specifically to safeguard the right of countries to promote and preserve their cultural diversity, can be established” (“Consultations with Canadians,” 2002). While many agree that the proper route of negotiation on this issue lies through the World Trade Organization, others fear that the overriding American influence on that body will make Canada’s goal of excluding culture from trade regulation hard to attain, despite such brave pronouncements. It seems certain that Canada can only protect its newly fledged international culture if a new instrument on cultural diversity is forthcoming, but it must be one that will indeed protect what it seeks to protect.

Today technology and the mass media are creating an international “info-tainment” culture, and many would argue that if Canada does not have a share of this, we will, as John Ralston Saul puts it, disappear from the planet (Saul, 86). The paradox and the challenge is that if Canadian reporters, commentators and creators lose contact with their roots or fail in their connections with local audiences, or allow themselves to be assimilated by the world entertainment culture, we will also disappear from the planet. That, I believe, is why a well-known former chairman of the Canada Council, Ambassador Allan Gotlieb in 1990 warned about the dangers of the ubiquitous Coca-Cola culture (Gotlieb, “Canada in the 1990s,” 3), and why Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Heritage Minister Copps have pursued the policies they have.

The new media indeed offer opportunities that mythical thought enshrines as the image of “one world.” They may even offer possibilities of deepening and extending the human spirit, as argued by Marshall McLuhan and Glenn Gould, and other visionary thinkers. But unless effective means is found to mitigate the detrimental effects of corporate greed, and to resist the imperatives of the emerging world monoculture, the future for diversity and creative exchange among individuals, cultures and nations looks bleak indeed.

Works Cited

Barlow, Maude and Clake, Tony. Global Showdown. Toronto: Stoddart, 2001.

–“Who’s In Charge of the Global Economy.”

Brunner, John. Shockwave Rider. New York: Ballantine, 1990 (1976).

“Consultations with Canadians: Trade Negotiations and Agreements”

Copps, Sheila. Interview with Shelagh Rogers, CBC Radio, Thursday, May 3, 2001.

Gotlieb, Allan. “Canada in the 1990s: Canadian Cultural Challenge.” Canada Council Document, 1990.

–“Some Reflections on Support for the Arts in Canada.” Canada Council Document, 1990.

Dick, Philip K. Martian Time Slip. New York: Ballantine, 1964.

— The Penultimate Truth. New York:Belmont, 1964.

Dyson, Freeman. Imagined Worlds. Harvard University Press, 1997.

Gould, Glenn. The Glenn Gould Reader, edited Tim Page. Toronto: Lester& Orpen Dennys, 1984.

Harris, Lee Mark. “Fugue States: Music, Dissociation, and Ethical Implications.” Ph.d. Diss. Concordia University, Montreal, 2001.

Henighan, Tom. The MacLean’s Companion to Canadian Arts and Culture. Vancouver: Raincoast Books, 2000.

–The Presumption of Culture: Structure, Strategy and Survival in the Canadian Cultural Landscape. Vancouver: Raincoast Books, 199

McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media. New York: Signet Books, 1964.

Murray, Janet. Hamlet on the Holodeck: the Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. New York: The Free Press, 1997.

Newspaper Guild of Canada. Press Release, March 07, 2002.

Pohl Frederick and Kornbluth C.M. The Space Merchants. New York: St. Martin’s, 1987 (1953).

Powe, B.P. A Climate Charged. Oakville, Ontario: Mosaic Press, 1984.

Saul, John Ralston. “Culture and Foreign Policy,” in Canada, Report of the Special Joint Committee Reviewing Canadian Foreign Policy: The Position Papers. Ottawa: Public Works and Government Services, 1994.

Schiller, Herbert I. Culture, Inc.: The Corporate Takeover of Public Expression. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989

— Living in the Number One Country: Reflections from a Critic of American Empire. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2000

–Mass Communications and the American Empire. New York: A.M. Kelley, 1969.

Targ, Harry R. and Cormier, David R. “Evaluating Trends in Globalization and Neoliberalism.” Revista de Humanidades: Tecnológico de Monterrey, No 9, 2000.

Toffler, Alvin. Future Shock. New York: Bantam, 1991 (1970).

Turner, Craig. “Canadian Culture: Whatever it is, they want to preserve it.” Los Angeles Times, March 30, 1997.

Watson, William. Globalization and the Meaning of Canadian Life. University of Toronto Press, 1998.

Published in Revista de Humanidades, 12, 2002 (Tec de Monterrey, Mexico)


1 Response to The Media, Globalization, and the Problem of National Identity

  1. What’s up to every one, the contents present at this
    website are truly awesome for people knowledge, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

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