Publication
Title
How to gauge banal nationalism and national indifference in the past: proletarian tweets in Belgium's belle epoque
Author
Abstract
Michael Billig's theory of banal nationalism involves the assumption that the absence of an explicit discourse on the nation should be interpreted as the unmindful presence of nationalism and that the mass media faithfully represent or reflect the discourses of ordinary people'. Recent historical research of national indifference' in imperial Austria has inverted the correlation between the ubiquity of nationalist discourses and their impact in society. This article assesses these conflicting frameworks and refutes AD Smith's critique of everyday nationalism research as necessarily ahistorical and presentist. This case study of the rank-and-file of the social-democratic Belgian Workers' Party at the close of the nineteenth century uses a unique source of working-class voices: the so-called propaganda pence' or proletarian tweets' from the Flemish-speaking city of Ghent. Hot, explicit nationalism was absent from these sources, which begs the question: is this proof of banal nationalism or national indifference? A historically contextualized analysis of the absences shows that workers expressed national indifference towards Belgian, but not towards Flemish ethnicity. In Rogers Brubaker's terms: Flemish ethnicity was a relevant social category, but only in a very restricted number of social contexts could it become a basis for groupness' or political mobilisation in daily life.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Nations and nationalism. - Cambridge
Publication
Cambridge : 2018
ISSN
1354-5078
Volume/pages
24 :3 (2018) , p. 579-593
ISI
000441249500009
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Project info
East vs. West? A radically comparative approach to nations and nationalism in European history (19th-20th C.).
Publication type
Subject
Law 
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 07.09.2018
Last edited 19.10.2021
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