British Journal of Canadian Studies

Regional Subnationalism in Canada and the Social Meaning of New Organisations

British Journal of Canadian Studies (2008), 21, (2), 153–170.

Abstract

The modernist view is that nationalism is the political alignment of a national culture with a state. Of particular relevance to modernist approaches to nationalism is the role of technology, including sociotechnical technologies such as organisations, in shaping nations and nationalism. This paper uses the literature of nationalism to argue that new organisations enjoying the indirect or direct support of governments have a substantial role in the development of subnational identities, especially in those subnational contexts characterised by political alienation from a national state. Subnational contexts include provinces, states, and other regional political regimes in a political relationship with a nation state. New organisations constitute a 'demonstration effect', which means that they show the benefits of an enhanced subnational culture for individuals and groups. Subnationalism is the alignment of regional economic and cultural projects with aspirations for an increase in political and economic autonomy. The case of the creation of Nova Corporation in 1954 is examined to reveal the demonstration effect within Alberta, Canada. The social effect of the new organisation, along with other public projects of its kind, was to strengthen the subnational culture and its link to the provincial state.

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Author details

Adria, Marco