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The 1905-1907 Revolution in the Kingdom of Poland

Articulation of Political Subjectivities among Workers

Wictor Marzec

The article examines the political mobilisation and construction of modern political identities among workers during the 1905-1907 Revolution in the Kingdom of Poland. Political process, creation and alternation of the political subjectivities of workers are explained in terms of hegemonic articulations as presented by the political discourse theory of Ernesto Laclau. While social claims merged with resistance against the national oppression of the Tsarist regime and the struggle for social and political recognition, political subjectivities took various contingent and competitive forms; thus the same demands could be integrated into different political narratives and collective identities. Combining discourse theory and process tracing makes alternations of the political field in time intelligible.

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Writing Syrian History While Propagating Arab Nationalism

Textbooks about Modern Arab History under Hafiz and Bashar al-Asad

Monika Bolliger

This article argues that Syrian history textbooks promote the formation of Syrian national identity, although their explicit objective is to propagate Arab nationalism. Their authors' attempt to construct the history of an imagined Arab nation encompassing the whole of the Arab world in fact tells the story of different nation-states. Syrian students are therefore confronted with rival geographical spheres of national imagination. Changes in the new textbooks under Bashar al-Asad reveal increased Syrian patriotism, a will to comply with globalization, and attempts to maintain Arab nationalism.

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Meglio di ieri

Educational Films, National Identity, and Citizenship in Italy from 1948 to 1968

Anne Bruch

This article examines a series of educational films and documentaries produced between 1948 and 1968 that document the activities of the Italian state. These films, which record the dedicated and arduous work of the Italian government and administration, had two functions. First, they informed students and the general public about the democratic structures, institutions and aims of the new republic, promoting a fresh and convincing vision of national identity. Second, they served to obscure and rewrite the collective national memory of Fascism and Italian involvement in the Second World War. These films thus reveal the fine line between public information, political propaganda, and civic education.

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Narrating the Second World War

History Textbooks and Nation Building in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine

Lina Klymenko

This article explores the theoretical understanding of the relation between school history textbooks and the state-led construction of national identity. It does this by conceptualizing a history textbook as an assembly of historical narratives that provide young readers with an opportunity to identify with the national community in which they live. By focusing on narrative techniques, including plot, concepts of time and space, and the categorization of characters as in- and out-groups, this article shows how narratives of the Second World War in Belarusian, Russian, and Ukrainian textbooks contribute to nation-building.

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Joseph Errington

Indonesian is the national language of the world’s fourth most populous country. Although it has 200 million speakers, it is little known beyond its borders and a narrow circle of area specialists. To reduce its obscurity in the global scheme of things, I will show here how it has developed into an unusually national but ‘un-native’ language. A brief sketch of the language’s history highlights commonsense ideas about language, identity, and nationalism that the Indonesian case does not fit, further reinforcing its uncommon aspects.

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Guest Editors' Introduction

Football and Society in Israel—a Story of Interdependence

Tamar Rapoport and Amir Ben Porat

Israel, where it has been played every weekend all over the country since before the establishment of the state. Football is not just a game that children and adults love to play and watch; it also involves individual, group, and collective identities, and local and national identification. Football reflects, and often accentuates, political and social conflicts that highlight ethno-national, class, political, and gender hierarchies and tensions in society. The game is largely dependent on the surrounding context(s) that determines its “relative autonomy,” which shapes its distinguished fandom culture(s) and practices (Rapoport 2016).

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Trauma, Time, and the ‘Singular Plural’

The Israeli Television Series Fauda

Nurith Gertz and Raz Yosef

The Israeli television series Fauda tells the story of an undercover unit pursuing a notorious terrorist to avenge terror attacks that he masterminded and to prevent his future attacks. The series bolsters Israeli collectivity by re-enacting past traumas and capitalizing on the fear of traumas yet to come, but it also dismantles national unity by portraying other ways for individuals to develop relationships with the collectives to which they belong and by attempting to find alternative temporalities to ‘traumatic time’ that returns to haunt the present from the future. While the plot aims to reinforce national identity by overcoming situations of imminent disaster, the televisual language creates another time based on overlaps between the various narrative threads of both Israeli and Palestinian identities, thus opening up new opportunities for co-existence and another relationship between the singular and the plural.

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Between Resistance and the State

Caribbean Activism and the Invention of a National Memory of Slavery in France

Itay Lotem

Between 1998 and 2006, the memory of slavery in France developed from a marginalized issue into a priority of the state. This article examines the process in which community activists and state actors interacted with and against one another to integrate remembrance and the commemoration of slavery and its abolitions into a Republican national narrative. It focuses on a series of actions from the protests against the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in 1998 to the creation of the 10 May National Memorial Day to Slavery and Its Abolitions in 2006. Basing its analysis on oral history interviews and various publications, this article argues that “memory activists”—and particularly new anti-racist groups—mobilized the memory of slavery to address issues of community identity and resistance within the context of twenty-first-century republicanism. In so doing, they articulated a new kind of black identity in France.

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Shakespeare and ‘Native Americans’

Forging Identities through the 1916 Shakespeare Tercentenary

Monika Smialkowska

This article examines the celebrations organised for the 1916 Shakespeare Tercentenary in three American locations: Wellesley, MA; Atlanta, GA; and Grand Forks, ND. By focusing on these hitherto neglected events, the article extends the investigations, initiated by Thomas Cartelli and Coppélia Kahn, into the ways in which the Tercentenary activities in the U.S. participated in the contemporaneous debates concerning American national identity. These investigations have until recently concentrated almost exclusively on the Tercentenary festivities organised in the metropolitan centre of New York City. An examination of the provincial celebrations in regions as diverse as New England, the South, and the Midwest, indicates that the Shakespeare Tercentenary provided a platform for the negotiation of a complex network of interrelated, and sometimes conflicting, national and local identities.

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Mark Tully on India and Hinduism

From the Political to the Personal

Nivedita Misra

The article looks at the unique position of Mark Tully in talking about India and the role of travel in developing his oeuvre of writing. The article contextualizes Tully's “English” identity and problematizes the colonial spaces that dislodge the concept of a national identity based on boundaries. It also relates the traveler's sense of engagement at a deeper level due to his participation in India's national life at various levels, analyzing his two residences and his awareness of two different audiences. It posits that a look at the culture of the Other makes the writer self-aware of his own upbringing, religious beliefs, and social understanding. It also positions the traveler as an interpreter of cultures—the others and his own—tracing the development of his perspective from his No Full Stops in India (1991) to India: The Road Ahead (2011).