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

Postmodernity and Identity

Postmodernity and identity

The extent of the banal flagging, described in the previous chapter, may come as a surprise. Increasingly, it is becoming commonplace to hear that the nation-state is in decline. Many commentators are arguing that the contemporary world is postmodern rather than modern. Nation-states, they argue, were a product of the modern era and are now becoming outmoded. If nationalism and national identity are both adjuncts of the nation-state, then they too belong to the fast disappearing world of modernity. This change from modernity to postmodernity has, so it is claimed, important political consequences. The old politics of nationhood are giving way to new politics of identity. The nationalist consciousness with its emphasis on boundaries and the homeland is supposedly passé. ...

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