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 with nationalism continuing to be a major ideological force in the contemporary world, it is all the more important to recognize those signs of nationalism which are so familiar that they are easily overlooked.
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Nationalism and Established Nations It might seem odd to begin a book on
nationalism with the Gulf War. The term 'nationalism' invites us to look elsewhere
for exemplars. In both popular and academic writing, nationalism is associated
There is, however, no readily available term to describe the collection of
ideological habits (including habits of practice and belief) which reproduce
established nations as nations. It is as if the term 'nationalism' only comes in
small sizes and ...
In established nations, it seems 'natural' to suppose that nationalism is an over-
heated reaction, which typically is the property of others. The assumption enables
'us' to forget 'our' nationalism. If our nationalism is to be remembered, then we ...
Moreover, nations forget the violence which brought them into existence, for, as
Renan pointed out, national unity "is always effected by means of brutality" (p. 11)
. Renan's insight is an important one: once a nation is established, it depends for
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Michael Billig mounts a critic to orthodox theories in sociology, politics and social psychology by arguing that although nationalism continues to be a major ideological force in contemporary world ... Read full review
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