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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Michael Billig. the female fatherland, "is a rather recent historic development, one
of this century" (1987, p. 66). Both camps, however, agree that mediaeval Europe
knew no such nation-states. Anthony Giddens has attempted to specify what ...
In so many respects, the mediaeval world of Europe looks to modern eyes as an
unbelievably messy, disorganized place. Throughout the Middle Ages, the mass
of inhabitants, living in what is now known as France or England, did not think of
Mediaeval Europe, in contrast with today's world, was not a place of official
vernacular languages. By and large written communication was in Latin. The
grammar, which was taught as a basic subject in the curriculum of the trivium,
was Latin ...
If the modern political map, unlike its mediaeval equivalent, contains precise
boundaries, so too does the modernly imagined map of speech. The
assumptions of this imagined mapping are easily projected on to other cultures
and other times.
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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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