Canadian Vs American Identity

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's March 2001

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The importance of defining an identity is of sociological concern because sense of "˜self', or identity, is reached only by means of people socially interacting (Hiller 1976). Determining whether or not there is a unique Canadian identity has been a struggle since the conception of the nation back in 1867, and with good reason. "[A]n identity is very difficult to define and it is virtually impossible to determine the fine line between lack of an identity and the existence of an identity" (Hiller p.155). In order to conclude that there is a unique Canadian identity, it is necessary to see past the irony in which such a conclusion is reached. The irony is that, there are fewer things unique within Canada, which all Canadians share in common, compared to unique characteristics that can be seen across the board. This fact is one that Canadians closely identify themselves with, and thus becomes part of the unique Canadian identity. The primary causes of this lack of uniqueness within Canada among Canadians are various types of barriers. Government has made significant efforts throughout Canadian history to unify Canada and overcome many of these barriers. As well, it has recently been found that there is a market for things "Canadian" which corporate Canada has taken advantage of in national advertising campaigns through the means of mass media. We will see how this too has contributed to overcoming these barriers as well as created a sense of uniqueness to Canadians. We will also take a look at what the American identity is: How it is/was shaped, and what comparisons can be made between it, and the Canadian identity. When it is all said and done, the Canadian identity is a delicate, yet strong and something to be very proud of.

General Canadian...