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.
Review: Banal NationalismUser Review - Goodreads
Billig's key insight--that nationalism is best understood as the subtle, un-noticed, and yet ubiquitous markers of statehood that we live with--is hugely important. That being said, this thesis could have been defended in a solid article in a professional journal. Read full review
Nations and Languages
Remembering Banal Nationalism
National Identity in the World of Nations
Flagging the Homeland Daily
Postmodernity and Identity