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
Chapter 5: Flagging the Homeland Daily
Flagging the Homeland Daily
The question still has not been answered directly: why do ‘we’, in established, democratic nations, not forget ‘our’ national identity? The short answer is that ‘we’ are constantly reminded that ‘we’ live in nations: ‘our’ identity is continually being flagged. Yet, this flagging cannot merely be a matter of the flag hanging outside the public building, or the national emblem, whether bald eagle or furry marten, on the coinage of the realm, as discussed in Chapter 3. The previous chapter suggested that ‘national identity’ is a short-hand for a whole series of familiar assumptions about nationhood, the world and ‘our’ place in that world. The limp, unwaved flag and the embossed eagle are not sufficient to keep these ...