Constructing Canadian citizens: a textual analysis of Canadian citizenship guides in English - 1947-2012

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Sobel, Nora
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The purpose of this study was to analyze Canadian Citizenship Guides as a proxy for an official policy voice of the Canadian government about what it means to be a Canadian citizen and what is expected from a Canadian citizen. This study analyzed six Canadian Citizenship Guides in the English language developed between 1947 and 2012 and identified how the selection of historical, governmental and social topics, and the use of different words and rhetorical strategies within each contemporary historical context constructed a narrative about what constitutes a Canadian citizen. To construct the narratives of Canadian citizen present in each Canadian Citizenship Guide, the study analysed the narratives about Canada, adaption to Canadian culture, and expected citizenship participation present in each guide. The study also sought continuities and disruptions in the narratives to explore how the narratives changed over time. The study concluded that while the narratives constructed by each guide (good character citizen, responsible citizen, wholesome citizen, politically active citizen, citizenship student, and loyal citizen) had unique elements, at the macro-level it could be said that from 1947 to 2012 there seemed to be more continuities than disruptions in the construction of the narratives of the Canadian citizen, and the narratives about Canada, adaption to Canadian culture, and expected citizenship participation.
Canadian, guides, citizenship, semiology, adult, education