Citizens and Nation: An Essay on History, Communication, and Canada by Gerald FriesenCitizens and Nation: An Essay on History, Communication, and Canada by Gerald Friesen

Citizens and Nation: An Essay on History, Communication, and Canada

byGerald Friesen

Paperback | April 28, 2000

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Grandmother Andre told stories in front of a campfire. Elizabeth Goudie wrote a memoir in school scribblers. Phyllis Knight taped hours of interviews with her son. Today's families rely on television and video cameras. They are all making history.

In a different approach to that old issue, 'the Canadian identity,' Gerald Friesen links the media studies of Harold Innis to the social history of recent decades. The result is a framework for Canadian history as told by ordinary people. Friesen suggests that the common peoples' perceptions of time and space in what is now Canada changed with innovations in the dominant means of communication. He defines four communication-based epochs in Canadian history: the oral-traditional world of pre-contact Aboriginal people; the textual-settler household of immigrants; the print-capitalism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; and the screen-capitalism that has emerged in the last few decades. This analysis of communication is linked to distinctive political economies, each of which incorporates its predecessors in an increasingly complex social order.

In each epoch, using the new communication technologies, people struggled to find the political means by which they could ensure that they and their households survived and, if they were lucky, prospered. Canada is the sum of their endeavours. "Citizens and Nation" demonstrates that it is possible to find meaning in the nation's past that will interest, among others, a new, young, and multicultural reading audience.

Gerald Friesen is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Manitoba.
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Title:Citizens and Nation: An Essay on History, Communication, and CanadaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8.5 × 5.56 × 0.84 inPublished:April 28, 2000Publisher:University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing DivisionLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0802082831

ISBN - 13:9780802082831

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From Our Editors

In this social study about the art of storytelling, Gerald Freisen discusses how, throughout history, modern technology has informed the creation of a Canadian identity. Four communication-based epochs are defined in Citizens and Nation An Essay on History, Communications, and Canada: oral traditional world identified with indigenous peoples; textual-settler household of early immigrants; print capitalism of the 19th and 20th centuries; and time-based technological applications used to record the history of the present day. 

Editorial Reviews

Grandmother Andre told stories in front of a campfire. Elizabeth Goudie wrote a memoir in school scribblers. Phyllis Knight taped hours of interviews with her son. Today's families rely on television and video cameras. They are all making history.In a different approach to that old issue, 'the Canadian identity,' Gerald Friesen links the media studies of Harold Innis to the social history of recent decades. The result is a framework for Canadian history as told by ordinary people. Friesen suggests that the common peoples' perceptions of time and space in what is now Canada changed with innovations in the dominant means of communication. He defines four communication-based epochs in Canadian history: the oral-traditional world of pre-contact Aboriginal people; the textual-settler household of immigrants; the print-capitalism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; and the screen-capitalism that has emerged in the last few decades. This analysis of communication is linked to distinctive political economies, each of which incorporates its predecessors in an increasingly complex social order.In each epoch, using the new communication technologies, people struggled to find the political means by which they could ensure that they and their households survived and, if they were lucky, prospered. Canada is the sum of their endeavours. "Citizens and Nation" demonstrates that it is possible to find meaning in the nation's past that will interest, among others, a new, young, and multicultural reading audience.'This [book] revives a field - that of a national synthesis - long dormant. It does so in a way that attempts to harness the best of intentions of the previous generation of historians with the best of research of today's generation of historians. It gives an original spin to old ideas and new approaches ... I have not read such a thought-provoking work on Canadian history in a long time. It made me angry on occasion; it also inspired me to think anew.' - M. Brook Taylor, Department of History, Mount Saint Vincent University