Soccer and the city : the unwieldy national in Dionne Brand's "What we all long for"
This paper discusses the meanings of soccer in Dionne Brand's What We All Long For. Soccer functions as a signifier of multiculturalism, globalization, and cosmopolitanism in Brand's celebrated novel, but also betrays the extent to which traditional national and ethnic identifications remain applicable in the ostensibly post-national world that the novel depicts. Soccer has functioned in Canadian society both as evidence of multiculturalism and as an emblem of homogenous nationalism, which is to say that the game enacts a subset of the larger identity debate between advocates of pluralism on the one hand and proponents of overarching assimilation on the other. The signification of soccer in What We All Long For, then, is twofold: in addition to representing a moment of slippage in which traditional nationalisms remain obviously in effect, soccer tacitly testifies to the continued currency of "Canadian identity" in a novel that very much wants to move beyond the framing categories of nation and ethnicity.