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Social Science Media Studies

Reclaiming Canadian Bodies

Visual Media and Representation

edited by Lynda Mannik & Karen McGarry

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2015
Media Studies, History & Criticism
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The central focus of Reclaiming Canadian Bodies is the relationship between visual media, the construction of Canadian national identity, and notions of embodiment. It asks how particular representations of bodies are constructed and performed within the context of visual and discursive mediated content. The book emphasizes the ways individuals destabilize national mainstream visual tropes, which in turn have the potential to destabilize nationalist messages.

Drawing upon rich empirical research and relevant theory, the contributors ask how and why particular bodies (of Estonian immigrants, sports stars, First Nations peoples, self-identified homosexuals, and women) are either promoted and upheld as “Canadian” bodies while others are marginalized in or excluded from media representations. Essays are grouped into three sections: Embodied Ideals, The Embodiment of “Others,” and Embodied Activism and Advocacy. Written in an accessible style for a broad audience of scholars and students, this volume is original within the field of visual media, affect theory, and embodiment due to its emphasis on detailed empirical and, in some cases, ethnographic research within a Canadian context.

About the authors

Lynda Mannik is the author of Canadian Indian Cowboys in Australia: Representation, Rodeo and the RCMP at the Royal Easter Show, 1939 (2006) and Photography, Memory and Refugee Identity: The Voyage of the S.S. Walnut, 1948 (2013). Additional scholarship has appeared in Visual Studies, Memory Studies, and Journalism Studies. She has been a visiting assistant professor at Trent University, Peterborough, and Memorial University, St. John’s. She currently teaches anthropology at York University in Toronto. Her research focuses on visual media, memory, and affect in various photographic realms.

Lynda Mannik's profile page

Karen McGarry is an assistant professor of anthropology at McMaster University, Hamilton. She previously held positions in the anthropology departments at Trent and York universities. Broadly speaking, her research focuses upon two areas of interest: the anthropology of sport, with an interest in high-performance and competitive sport; and educational anthropology. She is a co-author of Cultural Anthropology: A Problem-Based Approach (2013), and her work has appeared in Genders, The Gendered Society Reader, Reviews in Anthropology, The Sport Journal, and elsewhere.

Karen McGarry's profile page

Excerpt: Reclaiming Canadian Bodies: Visual Media and Representation (edited by Lynda Mannik & Karen McGarry)

Excerpt from Reclaiming Canadian Bodies: Visual Media and Representation edited by Lynda Mannik and Karen McGarry

From the Introduction by Karen McGarry and Lynda Mannik

Bodies are both sensorial and affective entities. We experience the world in multi-sensory ways—through hearing, touch, taste, smell, and vision. However, given that mass media relies heavily upon the proliferation and circulation of primarily visual information (in keeping with the ocularcentrism of Western societies), a particular emphasis will be placed upon analyses of the ways in which the visualization of mediated bodies seeks to produce, transform, or destabilize normative ideals of Canadianness. The authors in this volume address the ways in which the presentation and visualization of mediated images merge the body with that of the nation. Despite a growing body of literature on affect, emotion, and embodiment, there exists a paucity of ethnographic or other qualitative, empirically based analyses within Canadian contexts. Specifically, this collection will ask its readers to think about visual techniques, methods, and strategies that are employed by and through a variety of forms of media with the intent of creating an effect, and to cultivate a sense of emotional rapport linked to Canadian nationalism.

Other titles by Lynda Mannik

Other titles by Karen McGarry