Abstract and Keywords
This chapter approaches nationalism from the point of view of everyday life. This line of analysis owes a great deal to Michael Billig’s work and has the advantage of emphasizing the forms of interactions at the heart of societies which shape national identifications. Far from being only the reflection of an ideology produced by intellectuals or the mechanical result of an instrumental and manipulative policy pursued by political elites, banal nationalism results from a series of social micro-processes of identification that historically lead individuals to identify themselves with the nation in the same way that they feel they are members of other, often closer, human groups. For such an abstract process of identification to happen, national allegiance has to become banal, made concrete—through architecture, music, sport, media, or popular literature—so that individuals make it their own, often unknowingly and sometimes unwillingly. From that perspective, the historical formation of the state, the construction of national unity, and the assertion of national civic identity are the result of a complex to-and-fro movement, which dates back several centuries, between the political and the social, state, and society.
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