Banal nationalism | Wikipedia audio article

Banal nationalism | Wikipedia audio article


Banal nationalism refers to the everyday representations
of the nation which build a shared sense of national belonging amongst humans. The term is derived from English academic,
Michael Billig’s 1995 book of the same name and is intended to be understood critically. The concept has been highly influential, particularly
within the discipline of political geography, with continued academic interest since its
publication in the 1990s. Today the term is used primarily in academic
discussion of identity formation and geopolitics. Examples of banal nationalism include the
use of flags in everyday contexts, sporting events, national songs, symbols on money,
popular expressions and turns of phrase, patriotic clubs, the use of implied togetherness in
the national press, for example, the use of terms such as the prime minister, the weather,
our team, and divisions into “domestic” and “international” news. Many of these symbols are most effective because
of their constant repetition, and almost subliminal nature. Banal nationalism is often created via state
institutions such as schools. Michael Billig’s primary purpose in coining
the term was to clearly differentiate everyday, endemic nationalism from extremist variants. He argued that the academic and journalistic
focus on extreme nationalists, independence movements, and xenophobes in the 1980s and
1990s obscured the modern strength and the most common strain of contemporary nationalism,
by implying that it was a fringe ideology. He noted the almost unspoken assumption of
the utmost importance of the nation in political discourse of the time, for example in the
calls to protect Kuwait during the 1991 Gulf War, or the Falkland Islands in 1982. He argues that the “hidden” nature of modern
nationalism makes it a very powerful ideology, partially because it remains largely unexamined
and unchallenged, yet remains the basis for powerful political movements, and most political
violence in the world today. Banal nationalism should not be thought of
as a weak form of nationalism, but the basis for “dangerous nationalisms” However, in earlier
times calls to the “nation” were not as important, when religion, monarchy or family might have
been invoked more successfully to mobilize action. He also uses the concept to dispute post-modernist
claims that the nation-state is in decline, noting particularly the continued hegemonic
power of American nationalism.==External links==
Extracts from Billig’s Banal Nationalism http://www.nationalismproject.org/what.htm

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