Banal Nationalism

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SAGE, Sep 25, 1995 - Social Science - 200 pages
4 Reviews
Michael Billig presents a major challenge to orthodox conceptions of nationalism in this elegantly written book. While traditional theorizing has tended to the focus on extreme expressions of nationalism, the author turns his attention to the everyday, less visible forms which are neither exotic or remote, he describes as `banal nationalism'.

The author asks why people do not forget their national identity. He suggests that in daily life nationalism is constantly flagged in the media through routine symbols and habits of language. Banal Nationalism is critical of orthodox theories in sociology, politics and social psychology for ignoring this core feature of national identity. Michael Billig argues forcefully that wi

  

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Michael Billing makes a provocative argument in a field that, as he rightly points out, takes the idea of the nation for granted. He provides a compelling answer to the postmodern claim that nationalism is waning. Also, in a masterful demonstration of the application of the study of banal nationalism, he identifies the underlying inconspicuous nationalist thread in the seemingly cosmopolitan work of Richard Rorty.
One can certainly admire Biling's effort to exemplify how nationalism is reproduced insidiously, on an everyday basis. To that end he discusses the importance of symbols like coins and flags, the language adopted by politicians, and that appropriated even by left leaning media. However, there is a certain randomness in the examples provided, that make the book feel very repetitive at times.
 

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User Review  - Erin - Goodreads

I'm not sure how I feel about posting on non-fiction. Reasons for? I read a lot of it and much of it is interesting. Reasons against? I only ever read non-fiction for work and I'm not sure I like the ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Nations and Languages
13
Remembering Banal Nationalism
37
National Identity in the World of Nations
60
Flagging the Homeland Daily
93
Postmodernity and Identity
128
Philosophy as a Flag for the Pax Americana
154
Concluding Remarks
174
References
178
Name Index
193
Subject Index
199
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

Professor Michael Billig is professor of social sciences at the University of Loughborough. His most recent books are Ideology and Opinions: Studies in Rhetorical Sociology (SAGE, 1991) and Talking of the Royal Family (1992).

Michael Billig has been Professor of Social Sciences at Loughborough University, UK, since 1985. He took his undergraduate degree at Bristol University, where he also completed his Ph.D. in experimental social psychology, under the supervision of Henri Tajfel. Michael considers Tajfel to have have been one of the most important figures in the history of social psychology. After leaving Bristol to take up a lectureship at Birmingham University, Michael turned away from experimental social psychology, which he found to be too intellectually and methodologically restricting.

In his work, Michael has attempted to approach social psychological issues from a broader base within the social sciences. He has written books on a variety of topics. His books for SAGE include Banal Nationalism, in which he argued that in established nation-states there is an everyday, often unnoticed form of nationalism. Ideological Dilemmas, written in collaboration with other members of the Loughborough Discourse and Rhetoric Group, suggested that we should study ideology by examining how people argue and use language in everyday life. SAGE also published his book The Hidden Roots of Critical Psychology, which argues that the neglected figure of the third earl of Shaftesbury should be seen as a pivotal influence in the history of psychology, especially in the history of critical psychology. Michael has also written books on rhetoric, fascism, Freud's theory of repression, attitudes towards the British Royal Family and the history of rock'n'roll. His current work argues forcefully that academic social scientists use too much technical terminology and that ordinary concepts are often much clearer than technical ones.

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