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J.M.S Careless, metropolitanism and the Canadian imagination: A paradigm analysis

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  1. Introduction
  2. The emergence of Canadian cities
  3. The notion of metropolitanism
  4. J.M.S. Careless
  5. Canada at cross roads
  6. Frontierism metropolitaniam
  7. Careless's claim
  8. The functioning of the metropolitan state
  9. Conclusion
  10. References

The Canadian state sits outside of our popular conception of ourselves. Certainly, we as Canadian like to imagine ourselves as inhabiting a vast pristine wilderness of gorgeous mountain tops and uninterrupted prairie - and yet, this popular imaging of Canada bears little resemblance to the reality. In fact, Canada is an urban nation whose growth and development has been driven by access to waterways and whose population, now more than ever, will spend the majority of their lives within a stones throw of the American border. Inevitably, it would seem that the structure of the Canadian state is metropolitan in nature.

[...] In his article entitled Frontierism Metropolitaniam, and Canadian History, Careless approaches the intellectual history of Canada from a unique conceptual framework. For Careless, ?Metropolitanism' is at its root a socio-economic concept that is generally held to be one the most striking features of modern Western society. At its core a metropolis implies the emergence of a city of grand proportion that dominates not only the surrounding countryside but other cities and their countryside's as well (Careless, 1954). For Careless, a metropolis organizes and control communications, trade, and finance, into one economic and social unit that is focused on a metropolitan center of dominance. [...]


[...] In a contemporary context, the Canadian state appears to be under a metropolitan influence as we have a relatively small population that is heavily concentrated in certain areas. Presently, Canada has three first- ranking metropolitan centers: Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto (Careless, 1954). For us, it would seem that metropolitan power is directly centralized and immediately apparent. According to Careless, the functioning of the metropolitan state does more to explain the course of Canadian history than concepts of frontierism and other theories borrowed from the United States. [...]

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