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Constructing a National Hero: Cancer Politics, Masculinity and Canadian Identity in the Terry Fox Story

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Constructing a National Hero: Cancer Politics, Masculinity and Canadian Identity in the Terry Fox Story

Perrone, Julie (2013) Constructing a National Hero: Cancer Politics, Masculinity and Canadian Identity in the Terry Fox Story. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Looking at the multitude of honours received by Terry Fox during his short life and bestowed upon him after he passed away, it is undeniable that the marathon runner’s historical significance is tremendous. Despite the fact that he did not achieve his objective of running across Canada, and even though his life in the public eye only spanned a little over a year, Fox’s legacy and public and official recognition are quite impressive.
But although a nation’s heroes may be their most celebrated characters, they are also often the least examined, at least critically. Fox has been a tremendously influential figure in Canadian history, not just recently, and he has redefined for many the image of courage, determination, and selflessness. How did Terry Fox become a hero? How did this particular heroic narrative emerge? How has he been remembered and commemorated over the years? What messages have been disseminated or left out about him, about what he meant to Canadians and what he means to Canadian history? And, in the end, what does the memory of Terry Fox as a national hero tell us about Canada as a country? These are some of the questions that have remained unexplored until now.
We examine the construction process of Terry Fox as a national hero, which is best illustrated through the framework of hegemonic or dominant discourse. We indeed find that the power to define the meaning of the Fox story belonged to a few and offered them opportunities to reshape the past in order to influence the present. Among the multiple and tightly intertwined characteristics of this process, we chose to focus on discourses constructed through the media and through commemoration, about cancer politics, masculinity and national identity.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > History
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Perrone, Julie
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:History
Date:5 November 2013
Thesis Supervisor(s):Rudin, Ronald
Keywords:Public memory, Canadian history, Cancer, Masculinity, Nationalism, National Identity
ID Code:977991
Deposited By: JULIE PERRONE
Deposited On:12 Jun 2014 19:49
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:45
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