chapter  4
16 Pages

Globalization, corporate nationalism and masculinity in Canada: sport, Molson beer advertising and consumer citizenship: Steven Jackson

Introduction Within the context of globalization, nations have increasingly become the object of both production and consumption. Simply stated: ‘nation-branding has been incorporated into the project of nation building’.1 On one hand nations are being produced as branded tourist destinations or as sites of valuablematerial resources for either development or investment by international capital. On the other hand, nations, and their symbolic value, are increasingly being used by both global and local corporations as a means of aligning brands with national identity. Consequently, directly or indirectly citizens are being conceptualized, appealed to and transformed into consumers. According to Trentmann2: ‘While even a generation ago, consumption and citizenship tended to be located in opposing spheres of private and public . . . they are today increasingly recognized as porous, indeed overlapping domains.’ New consumerist lifestyles are creating new types and processes of identity formation that transcendmore traditional forms thatwere often defined by place (local, regional and national boundaries) and practice (work). With specific reference to national identities, a key driving force in the transformation of citizens to consumers has been the unprecedented growth and power of multinational corporations (MNCs) that engage in what is referred to as corporate nationalism – a process whereby they seek to ‘capitalize upon the nation as a source of collective identification and differentiation’.3 This is often achieved through a carefully orchestrated practice that involves corporations using the currency of ‘the nation’, that is, its symbols, images, stereotypes, collective identities and memories as part of their overall branding strategy.4 To this extent, advertising, marketing and the creative promotional industries more generally play a key role in producing and representing particular visions of

the nation that link brands and commodities with aspects of contemporary social life, ultimately influencing individual and group identity formation. This paper examines the relationship between one global commodity (beer) as it is located within one particular national context (Canada) through one particular brand (Molson) in order to explore how the process of corporate nationalism engages with and shapes other identities including masculinity. Specifically, this paper seeks to advance our understanding of how the circuit of culture5 – that is, the production, symbolic representation and consumption of commodities – plays a key role in contemporary identity formation and citizenship.