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The Quest of the Folk: Antimodernism and Cultural Selection in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia
by Ian McKay
The use and abuse of the idea of the "Simple Life" in tourism promotion and the massive dissemination of folk images are analysed in depth. McKay examines how Nova Scotia's cultural history was rewritten to erase evidence of an urban, capitalist society, of class and ethnic differences, and of women's emancipation. He sheds new light on the roles of Helen Creighton, the Ma ...more
Paperback, 392 pages
Published August 29th 1994 by McGill-Queen's University Press
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McKay has carefully unpacked the ways that Nova Scotia has constructed for itself an image as a purer, simpler, more idyllic place populated by less complex idyllic people. He presents a cultural history that shows the production of a tourist culture based on invented 'traditional folk values' that obscure the province's urban society, capitalist way, and class, ethnic and gender differences and power relations. It is a fabulous analysis the significance of which extends well beyond Nova Scotia, ...more
A classic! McKay's central argument that popular notions of Nova Scoatians as a simple and idyllic people are wrong is compelling as is his focus on the capitalistic marketplaces that help construct these myths. Indeed, the book is full of many brilliant observations, though far too many are buried in thick, page-long paragraphs. And the book could have benefited from some prudential trimming. One chapters runs no shorter than 110 pages! Nonetheless, cultural historians will likely find it a com ...more