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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The obviousness must be questioned, if nationalism is to be seen as an ideology,
which deeply affects contemporary consciousness - 'our' consciousness, as much
as 'theirs'. Ideologies are patterns of belief and practice, which make existing ...
An ideological analysis of psychological states stresses that the acts, and, indeed
, the motives of the individuals, are constituted ... Language plays a vital role in
the operation of ideology and in the framing of ideological consciousness.
If nationalism is the ideology which maintains these nation-states as nation-states
, then nationalism is "the most successful ideology in human history" (p. 3).
Liberalism and Marxism have been territorially limited, as was Christendom or
Roland Barthes claimed that ideology speaks with "the Voice of Nature" (1977, p.
47). As others have pointed out, ideology comprises the habits of behaviour and
belief which combine to make any social world appear to those, who inhabit it, ...
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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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