Critical Counternarratives to Canadianness: The Tragically Hip and Canada as a Work in Progress

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MacQueen, Michelle




Canadian national identity occupies a contentious space wherein there are tensions between singular narratives of Canadian experience and more nuanced understandings of the complexity of national identity. Considering these issues, this thesis aims to demonstrate how constructions of Canadianness are created through Canadian music, specifically through the iconic Canadian rock band, The Tragically Hip. Drawing on discussions of identity and belonging in the Canadian experience, I suggest that through their lyrics, the band create critical counternarratives that oppose more singular and celebratory versions of Canadian identity. Yet at the same time, there is a reassertion of hegemonic Canadianness through their music. In this sense, The Hip hold a dichotomous position as both critical of dominant national narratives and as embodying hegemonic Canadianness. I conclude by examining the legacy of The Tragically Hip and suggest that The Hip as 'Canada's band' represents a consensus that Canada is a 'work in progress.'






Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Music and Culture

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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