Archive for March, 2009

An interesting article on more ‘banal’ expressions of nationalism in the most recent Annals of Tourism Research:

Pauliina Raento “Tourism, nation, and the postage stamp: Examples from Finland”

Annals of Tourism Research Volume 36, Issue 1, January 2009

In the expanding visual paradigm of tourism studies postage stamps remain overlooked. This empirical study of Finnish stamps from 1917–2001 exemplifies the potential of this data, the methods of its interpretation, and connections to literature. The examination contributes to the study of tourism and national identity politics by offering one critical narrative of the changing relationship between tourism promotion, identity-building, and citizenship education. A basic quantitative and qualitative assessment reveals two major turning points in the data, both of which connect to geopolitics and the world economy. The easily reproducible examination shows how representative emphases and absences serve “banal nationalism” and the construction of an “imagined community” of ‘us.’

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Out now: Nations & Nationalism Volume 15, Number 2, April 2009

Between nationalism and humanitarianism: the glocal discourse on refugees

Tolerant exclusion: expanding constricted narratives of wartime ethnic and civic nationalism

Social distance in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the North Caucasus region of Russia: Inter and intra-ethnic attitudes and identities

Identity of non-self-evident nation: Czech national identity after the break-up of Czechoslovakia and before accession to the European Union

A case for Slovene nationalism: initial citizenship rules and the erasure

Passions, patriotism and nationalism, and Germaine de Staël

The fluidity of nationalistic and ethnic aspirations in Aceh

Vulnerability and nationalism: the support for the war against Iraq in five established states

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The new issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (Volume 35 Issue 4) is now out, and it has an interesting variety of articles:

The Personal Contexts of National Sentiments Robin Mann; Steve Fenton

Perceived Discrimination, Ethnic Identity and the (Re-) Ethnicisation of Youth with a Turkish Ethnic Background in Germany Jan Skrobanek

Internal Migration, Identity and Livelihood Strategies in Contemporary Russia Anne White

Chinese Ethnic Settlements in Britain: Spatial Meanings of an Orderly Distribution, 19812001 Wai-ki E. Luk

Inhabiting Spaces of Liminality: Migrants in Omonia, Athens Antonia Noussia; Michal Lyons

Social Capital and the Myth of Minority Self-Employment: Evidence from Canada Reza Nakhaie; Xiaohua Lin; Jian Guan

The Rise of an Intercultural Nation: Immigration, Diversity and Nationhood in Quebec Cory Blad; Philippe Couton

Questions of Friendship and Degrees of Transnationality among Second-Generation Return Migrants to Barbados Joan Phillips; Robert B. Potter

Ethnic Diasporas and Business Competitiveness: Minority-Owned Enterprises in London John Kitching; David Smallbone; Rosemary Athayde

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Fifteen years after his Forza Italia broke with the post-war consensus on the Parliamentary marginalisation of the ‘heirs to Mussolini’, Silvio Berlusconi’s Il Popolo della Libertà party is shortly to absorb the ‘post-Fascist’ Alleanza Nazionale.

Does this signal the end of the fascist project as an effective force in Italian politics, or a disturbing victory for the extreme right?


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An interesting BBC thought-piece on India’s upcoming general election by Mahesh Rangarajan:


Of particular interest is the intense pressure that the two Indian nationalist parties – the secular INC and the far-right Hindu nationalist BJP – are under from regionally focussed parties and alliances.

I must confess that i don’t know much about Indian electoral politics – this is a good place for me to start though …

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Did anyone else follow the story of the Sri Lankan (Sinhala speaking)born postmaster in Nottingham who refused to serve people who didn’t speak English? There was a whole show devoted to this on the world service the other day (BBC Radio for those who don’t know). The newspaper coverage does him a slight dis-service in that it goes on about hospitality towards tourists. On the radio he insisted that he was targeting particular people who he felt had been here for a long time, were often receiving benefits, but showed no signs of wanting to learn the language. He said he would go an extra mile to help tourists or new-comers.

Anyway – it looks like he has been forced out of his job on the back of the row: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/mar/22/sneinton-post-office-nottingham-ban

Given that he was practicing what politicians like Blunkett have been preaching for a while he seems like a scapegoat. Aside from the specificities of this case what do you think about his stance on integration? Should people be compelled to learn the language of their place of residence (which language in the case of multi-lingual states – should Welsh or Gaelic speakers take similar steps)? Or should we be celebrating the diversity of contemporary society?

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The most recent issue of Contributions to Indian Sociology (2008 but not long out) has two articles of interest. One is a review essay by Ghosh which looks back to the partition of India into India and Pakistan (later Bangladesh too). It addresses the question of the extent to which post-colonial nationalisms were derivative but focuses on the history of Hindu-Muslim tensions.

Fast forward several decades and the other relevant article in the journal is by Syed Ali and focuses on: ‘Understanding acculturation among second-generation South Asian Muslims in the United States’. The article is limited to middle class Muslims in New York, but it raises interesting questions that may be of relevance to those working on diaspora communities elsewhere. The full abstract read as follows:

This article addresses an understudied area in studies of immigration—why patterns of acculturation of second-generation immigrants vary. To address this question, I draw on ethnographic research conducted among second-generation South Asian Muslims in New York City. Sociologists generally assume that acculturation is an inevitable process, and that it proceeds from less to more. I argue that acculturation is a more complex process that varies over time and situation for individuals, and can even go from more to less acculturation. Building on Judith Harris’s group socialisation theory and Murray Milner Jr.’s theory of status relations, I propose that acculturation is a dynamic status process, and that we can better understand variations in patterns of acculturation of individuals by looking at their peers—the kinds of intimate associations that individuals make, and the kinds of peer group norms to which individuals conform.

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I’m sure we’re all familiar with the metaphor of sport as national conflict by proxy, but it seems that this can now also be applied to the unlikely arena of the Eurovision song contest. Or perhaps, now I come to think of it, it’s not so unlikely after all …


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In today’s FT (11th March 09), Martin Wolf has an interesting think-piece on the ideological god that failed. He comments: ‘The search for security will strengthen political control over markets. A shift towards politics entails a shift towards the national, away from the global’. If he’s right, what should we, as students of nationalism, be doing about it? What’s our agenda?

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“…and the trouble with protectionism is that is plays to the extremes of our society. And then you get nationalism. And let us make no mistake Nationalism is not Patriotism…and so you have nationalism and you very quickly have nasty stuff. And when you get that you get Germany 1933 all over again” and so on.

View here (at time of posting): http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsa/n5ctrl/progs/09/hardtalk/jones_09mar.ram (12:56 – on)

So my Q:  What is the definition of nationalism that resolves the academic and ‘lay’ definitions?

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