Nationalizing Everyday Life: Individual and Collective Identities as Practice and Discourse

  • Anssi Paasi University of Oulu
Keywords: Nationalism, Territoriality, Identity, National Socialization, Ideology, Everyday Life


Much of the literature on nationalism and national identity aims at outlining these phenomena in very generalized terms and therefore often remains abstract as far as concrete, localized forms of nationalism and national identities are concerned. This paper begins from the idea that both nationalism and national identity are contested and contextual categories which always emerge, are reproduced and modified in certain territorial contexts. Both of these categories are structured in specific social practices and discourses, in which individual and collective forms of identity become fused. National discourses mostly enter the everyday lives of ordinary people through the media, national education and national practices such as various spectacles. All these phenomena are constituents of spatial socialization, which typically mediates images of the homogeneous nature of a national culture and identity. Particular emphasis will therefore be put on practices and discourses through which generalized narratives, symbols and institutions of national identity are created and on how they are reproduced in everyday life. As a concrete illustration of spatial socialization processes, the paper discusses the roles of education and military service in the case of Finland.


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