The myths that bind us : a critical discourse analysis of Canada : a people's history
Hobday, Joyce Annie
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The 32- hour documentary series Canada: A People’s History was aired in 2000-2001 and has been widely disseminated: it is now available as video and DVD sets and has been aired in at least nine languages. In this thesis I examine the packaging of the series, that is, the images and promotional blurbs on the boxed DVD set and the introductory and concluding segments of the series, and I intensively examine Episode 10 “Taking the West” (1873-1896). Through Critical Discourse Analysis, I closely examine the language and other semiotic material used in Canada: A People’s History to analyse power relationships in the series. As well as paying attention to the overall structure of the verbal and visual text, I am attentive to the way in which grammar and words are used, and the representation that is portrayed through these elements. In this thesis, I find that while the series does include women and Aboriginal people, Canada: A People’s History’s use of language and images portrays a Canadian identity that privileges Whiteness and masculinity and that presents current power imbalances in society as natural and inevitable. By devaluing women and Aboriginal people in its representation, Canada: A People’s History lends legitimacy to the systemic discrimination against women and Aboriginal people in Canadian society. I find that the series presents past events as inevitable, over which people had no control or influence, and I argue that this presentation encourages people to accept the current situation, rather than challenging it and seeking alternatives.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
SupervisorMiller, Dianne M.
Copyright DateMarch 2006