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date: 21 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter deals with the way in which French social scientists study their fellow citizens’ national identity. Following Billig, national identity refers here to the way people feel “emotionally situated” within nations, whatever these emotions are; how and to what extent they believe that being French is part of their personal identity. Over recent decades, social scientists all over the world have investigated the complex feelings citizens have about their nations. In France, however, this issue has been somewhat overlooked. This disparity is a consequence of the political context and the role of social scientists in French public debates, as well as a legacy of Bourdieu’s work which has made them well aware of the power of categorization. As a conclusion, the chapter outlines a research agenda in order to overcome this sociological blind spot.

Keywords: national identity, banal nationalism, Bourdieu, Billig, everyday nationhood, constructivism

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