The shaping of a new order in the west : the influence of Winnipeg's agricultural and industrial exhibitions, 1870-1915

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Le Gras, Claude A.
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Exhibitions embody notions of power, culture, and history. The study of exhibitions from 1870 to 1915 in Winnipeg shows how a middle-class agenda dominated these events. In an era of profound change, exhibition advocates sought to coax stability through popular assent. The study attempts to explain how exhibitions, as a mechanism of order, were inherently contradictory. Hegemonic elements, which sought to impress the desirability of system and harmony, simultaneously attempted to break down established habits, values, and expectations and replace them with new ones. The exhibition began as an idea that reflected the social thinking of the day and as a model that provoked action. It was the Victorian state of mind that attributed political, economic, and cultural importance to exhibitions and weighed them down with ideological and historical burdens. As a consequence, the study of the purposes of exhibition seeks to clarify the limited identity we are left with today.