Technological nationalism

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Technological nationalism is the belief that Canada’s existence as a sovereign, independent nation hinges on its use of communication technology. Communication theorist Maurice Charland developed this concept in relation to the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR).

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Canada's greatest challenge in the 19th century was to unite the country across a continent. The construction of the CPR (from 1881 to 1885) was a deliberate political and economic attempt to unite Canada's regions and link Eastern and Western Canada, the heartland and hinterland respectively. Charland identified this project as based on the nation's faith in technology's ability to overcome physical obstacles. As the technology was adapted to suit Canadian needs, it fed the national rhetoric that railroads were an integral part of nation building. This spirit of technological nationalism also fuelled the development of broadcasting in the country and thus further served in the development of a national identity. Paradoxically however, these technologies, which historian Harold Innis termed "space-binding," simultaneously supported and undermined the development of a Canadian nation. Based in connection rather than content, they did not favour any particular set of values, except those arising from trade and communication themselves, and so they also contributed to Canada's integration into first the British, and then the American empire.

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