Generation X in Canada
"Globalized Before Globalization: Gen X Canadians and American Culture"
"It is not surprising that Douglas Coupland’s novel Generation X, and the term that it spawned, originated in Canada. Long before globalization became such a significant concern, Canadian youth were already experiencing its effects. Canadians are acutely aware of issues of cultural displacement. Living along the world’s longest undefended border, shared with the world’s largest provider of popular entertainment, has meant that Canadian youth grew up inundated with American culture. Coupland’s novel, and numerous other Canadian popular culture texts, reveals this awareness with otherness that has been part of the Canadian youth experience. American cultural productions have always been popular in Canada, and anxiety about their influence long been part of the Canadian cultural fabric. Yet even though the Canadian cultural landscape has a similar iconography to that of the United States, the subtle (and sometimes substantial) distinctions in everyday culture for Canadian youth signal a sense of difference and potential self-awareness. This has been perhaps most acutely felt by the youth of Generation X. They grew up during an era when media influence became more pronounced, but ahead of the full impact of globalization. For the Gen X youth of Canada, the domestic battles over national identity, including two referendums on Quebec sovereignty and the extensive coverage of these events, contrasted a media landscape dominated by American culture. The rise in latchkey children and the correspondent growth in cable television, meant that media became not only more omnipresent, but also a pronounced shaper of cultural identity. It is thus not surprising to find the sorts of articulate, aware pronouncements amongst Coupland’s protagonists."
~ Scott Henderson, Excerpt from Generation X Goes Global
Scott Henderson. Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. His research has covered many areas of popular culture including Canadian and British cinema, YouTube and youth culture, gay and lesbian youth cinema, soundtracks, and radio policy. His current research is on the changing dynamics of music scenes in post-industrial cities, including St. Etienne, France, Glasgow Scotland and Hamilton, Ontario.
Douglas Coupland on "Generation X":
Eulogy: "Generation X'd" by Douglas Coupland. Published in Details, June 1995, 71.
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