Everyday Nationhood: A One-Day Symposium to Examine the Contribution of Michael Billig's Study of Banal Nationalism

Monday 8th September 2014

London School of Economics & Political Science


Organised by the Association for the Study of Ethnicity & Nationalism (ASEN) and Political, Social & International Studies academic staff, University of East Anglia


Published in 1995, Michael Billig's Banal Nationalism is the fourth most cited text on nationalism and arguably the most influential book on the topic in the last two decades. Focusing on contemporary and everyday expressions of nationhood, the study marked a profound shift away from previous attempts to map the transformation to an era of nations and the association of nationalism with political violence, civil conflict and extremist movements.

Billig's arguments have been picked up by scholars working in an impressive range of disciplines as part of the recent turn to the ‘everyday', and the term ‘banal' has come to form a short hand for the study of the ways in which particular representations, forms of social organisation and cultural practice become normalised and taken-for-granted.

This one-day symposium will look to assess the contribution of the Banal Nationalism thesis, examine its application across disciplines and settings, and ask where studies of nation, social identities and everyday life might be headed over the next two decades. The event will feature a keynote address by Professor Craig Calhoun (Director of the LSE) one of the leading theorists of nationalism, cosmopolitanism and social identity in the contemporary era.

Call for Papers

We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers from both established scholars and PGR students, in any discipline, addressing: theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of everyday nationhood / social identities, empirical studies of the phenomenon, the application of Billig's arguments to non-national frameworks as well as critiques of the Banal Nationalism thesis.

Please send a 250-300 words proposal to Michael Skey (m.skey@uea.ac.uk) by Friday 13th June 2014.
Those applying can expect written confirmation by Friday 4th July 2014. It is anticipated that a selection of papers relating to the symposium will form part of a special edition of a peer-reviewed scholarly journal.

The cost of attending the symposium, which will cover lunch and refreshments on the day, will be £15.

Registration now open at: www.lse.ac.uk/asen

Download a poster