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Comparing Canada and the Americas

From Roots to Transcultural Networks

Patrick Imbert

Comparing Canada and the Americas: From Roots to Transcultural Networks covers the Americas in a comparative perspective spanning from the 19th century to the 21st century. It explores socio-cultural dynamics changing considerably in the Americas, which are progressively shedding their original fascination for Europe and slowly recognizing the importance of Indigenous, Afro-descendants, and immigrant cultures. The Americas have many dynamics in common, such as the presence of shared dualistic paradigms, like civilization/barbarism, which is a synonym for self/others. From the invention of the Nation States to globalization, the valorization of taking roots has transformed into the valorization of the legitimacy of geo-symbolic displacements. A comparative study of Canada, Quebec, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the USA reveals both the exclusions and the inclusions that, in literary, artistic, and media productions as well as political essays, are founded on the opposition between interior and exterior. The current era has seen the displacement of these oppositions within the context of the recognition of the others. This recognition is rooted in multicultural, intercultural, and transcultural perspectives. In the current networked and complex contemporary world, literary, artistic, political, and media texts go beyond dichotomous oppositions and historical master narratives legitimating exclusions. Instead, they valorize "chameleoning" and the surprise of encounters with different cultures, thus creating new perspectives linked to a techno-cultural and democratic future based on the desire to share and to belong to oneself.

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Conclusion: The Surplus of Knowledge



The Surplus of Knowledge

The re-invention of the Americas, however, abandons such binary relations between centre and periphery, between European and aboriginal…in favour of transversal or horizontal relations…1

In the contemporary world, we have shown that binary relations do not help to effectively manage social and cultural relations. These dualistic semantic paradigms like most paradigms are communicated through stereotypes and metaphors, narratives, a priori arguments and general cultural and theoretical considerations. They have defined the development of identities to foster cultural homogenization based on and aimed at exclusion in the 19th and 20th century Americas, in line with national characteristics based on European models. We have explored their recontextualization and increased fluidity in the context of globalization and the postmodern/postcolonial/inter-multi-trans-cultural era, which has led to an analysis of multiple self-images going beyond the initial dualism and open to the included third and to otherness. We started with dualism and determinism, which developed into a particular type of Americas, cut into nation-states like 19th century Europe, but without access to an already globalized colonial wealth, meaning that smaller countries struggled to build a big enough economic and socio-cultural market. This was followed by an era of liberal globalization linked to inter←207 | 208→culturalism, multiculturalism and transculturalism and to the development of new relations amidst confronting multiple self-images. These are henceforth connected to “glocalization” and to américanités / americanidad / americanidade2, influenced by Americanization but not to be confused with...

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