How Canadians Communicate II: Media, Globalization, and Identity.


328 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-1-55238-224-0
DDC 302.230971




Edited by David Taras, Maria Bakardjieva, and Frits Pannekoek
Reviewed by Jeffrey Moon

Jeff Moon is head of the Maps, Data, and Government Information Centre
at Queen’s University.


How Canadians Communicate II expands the debate started in its 2003 predecessor. In contrast with the first volume’s largely domestic and often dire take on Canadian cultural industries, this volume takes a more outward-looking view, investigating “how global forces are shaping Canadian media, culture, and identity.”


The book has three sections. The first deals with Canadian cultural policy in a global context. The chapter “From Assumptions of Scarcity to the Facts of Fragmentation” is particularly illuminating, tracing the history of media, from print and radio to television and the Internet, all in the context of an evolving policy framework. This chapter answers the rhetorical question: “If we had known…what we now know about the technology and economics of broadcasting, would we have created the same system we have today?”


The next section looks at “identity” in the context of blogging, music downloading, and violence. The “music” chapter paints a picture of a traditional industry in decline, contrasted with remarkable international success for Canadian artists and “signs of hope for a legitimate online market.” In his chapter on violence, Stephen Kline illustrates clearly the “porous nature of our information borders” and how “imported” violence flies in the face of our constitutional values as well as regulatory standards. Kline also provides an informative history of video games in a section cleverly titled, “Origin of the Specious.”


The final section deals information control. The chapter on scholarly communication questions whether libraries provide “free unfettered access” to digital information or instead act increasingly as agents of globalization at the expense of Canadian book and journal publishers. This chapter should be required reading for all librarians and scholars.


Browsing the detailed 24-page index provides a glimpse of the variety of topics discussed in this book—everything from the CBC to Sex and the City. This book is provocative yet optimistic in tone, providing innovative suggestions as to how Canada can preserve and strengthen its cultural identity in the face of U.S. and global pressures. One contributor envisions us being able to say accurately, and with some pride: “America is just Canada with fewer choices”—an unfortunately America-centric, but otherwise worthy, goal.


“How Canadians Communicate II: Media, Globalization, and Identity.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,