Newcomers and old-timers: The cultural production of “Canada” and “Canadians” in an audio-visual text


  • Lyndsay Moffatt


This paper examines the cultural production of “Canada” and “Canadians” in The Newcomers, a 1953 film produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Using a form of discourse analysis that sees talk as social interaction and identity as socially and locally constructed, this study illuminates how “Canada” and “Canadians” are talked into being in a film ostensibly about immigration and immigrants. While illustrating the moment-to-moment construction of these social identities in this specific context, this study also illustrates how ethnomethodological tools could be used to critically analyze the production of ideologies and identities in audio-visual media. Specific attention is paid to the marginalization of Aboriginal peoples in this governmental text.

Key words: Aboriginal peoples, Canada, cultural production, ethnomethodology, identity, Indigenous peoples, immigration, National Film Board, talk as social interaction.

Author Biography

Lyndsay Moffatt

Lyndsay Moffatt completed her doctoral work at The University of British Columbia, and a post-doctoral fellowship at Simon Fraser University. Her current research interests include critical approaches to literacy education, discourse analysis, teacher education and examining research data as social interaction. 



How to Cite

Moffatt, L. (2011). Newcomers and old-timers: The cultural production of “Canada” and “Canadians” in an audio-visual text. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue Canadienne De l’éducation, 34(3), 196–212. Retrieved from