• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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

Philosophy as a Flag for the Pax Americana
Philosophy as a flag for the Pax Americana

Banal nationalism possesses a low key, understated tone. In routine practices and everyday discourses, especially those in the mass media, the idea of nationhood is regularly flagged. Even the daily weather forecast can do this. Through such flagging, established nations are reproduced as nations, with their citizenry being unmindfully reminded of their national identity. This banal flagging provides the home-making groundwork, turning ground into homeland. A constant deixis keeps ‘us’ nationally playing at home. Accordingly, the playing pitch is watered and mulched, in constant readiness for quickly declared, intermittent contests of passionate attack and defence. At the same time, as was suggested in the previous chapter, the global nationalism of ...

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