“Americanization” is a much more useful term than “globalization” in the Canadian context. The specific practices of commercial sport that have eroded local autonomy began as explicitly American practices, and state-subsidized American-based cartels flood the Canadian market with American-focused spectacles, images, and souvenirs. But the term does oversimplify the complexity of social determinations and masks the increasing role the Canadian bourgeoisie plays in continentalist sports. “American capitalist hegemony” is therefore preferable. The long debate over Americanization in Canada has also focused on the appropriate public policy response. Traditionally, Canadians have turned to the state to protect cultural expression from the inroads of American production, but that becomes increasingly difficult under neoconservative renovation and the regional trading bloc created by the 1989 U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement. The popular movements will need new means to protect and strengthen the presentation and distribution of their own sporting culture.
Bruce Kidd is with the School of Physical and Health Education, University of Toronto, 320 Huron St., Toronto, Ont., Canada M5S 1A1.