The Concept Of ' Banal Nationalism ' For Debates Around The Relevance Of National Identity
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Critically discuss the value of the concept of ‘banal nationalism’ for debates around the relevance of national identity in social and political contexts
The concept of ‘banal nationalism’
The concept of ‘banal nationalism’ was introduced by Michael Billig (1995) as a term for describing the everyday, unconscious occurrences which that allow a national identity to reproduce itself. Examples of this might be the types of coin used, flags being displayed, or certain rhetoric from politicians (Billig, 2005). Billig (1995) points out that commonly nationalism is written about when discussing extreme or violent attempts to create or seriously change a nation, such as the French revolution. It is also rarely ascribed to people from one’s own country, who are part of the mainstream culture or government. Yet despite this lack of conscious nationalism the members of the nation do not forget their national identity, only remembering them during times of conflict or during national events, such as a royal marriage. This, according to Banal Nationalism, is because the of many of the routine ways of life that reinforce ones shared sense of belonging to the nation, such as the classification of home vs foreign news stories in the media, or the British-centric history lessons taught from a young age.
Impacts of ‘banal nationalism’
The concept of ‘banal nationalism’ has had a major influence on the research into national identity, as Skey (2009) noted “Billig 's study led the