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Affective nationalism: Banalities of belonging in Azerbaijan


Militz, Elisabeth; Schurr, Carolin (2016). Affective nationalism: Banalities of belonging in Azerbaijan. Political Geography, 54:54-63.

Abstract

While Michael Billig’s ‘banal nationalism’ points to the significance of the trivial reproduction of national representations in everyday routines, feminist political geographers have highlighted how the nation is brought into being through embodied and emotional practices. Building upon and extending these notions of the nation as represented and embodied, the paper argues that the nation also takes shape through bodily encounters and joyful as well as painful affections. In what we call ‘affective nationalism’, the nation emerges in moments of encounter between different bodies and objects through embodying, sharing, enjoying or disliking what feels national. We combine a Deleuzian reading of affect that discloses the mechanisms of material becomings with feminist scholarship sensitive to how bodies affect and are affected differently by materially produced nationalisms. Based on ethnographic field research in Azerbaijan, which we present in three vignettes, we untangle the affective becoming of national bodies, objects and places during a publicly staged ceremony of the collective remembrance of martyr and the celebration of a national holiday within the realm of a family. The paper makes two contributions to researching affective nationalism. First, it enquires into how people identify with Azerbaijan through their capacities to affect and to be affected by what feels national and, second, it explores how affective nationalism can be captured through vignettes of affective writing.

Abstract

While Michael Billig’s ‘banal nationalism’ points to the significance of the trivial reproduction of national representations in everyday routines, feminist political geographers have highlighted how the nation is brought into being through embodied and emotional practices. Building upon and extending these notions of the nation as represented and embodied, the paper argues that the nation also takes shape through bodily encounters and joyful as well as painful affections. In what we call ‘affective nationalism’, the nation emerges in moments of encounter between different bodies and objects through embodying, sharing, enjoying or disliking what feels national. We combine a Deleuzian reading of affect that discloses the mechanisms of material becomings with feminist scholarship sensitive to how bodies affect and are affected differently by materially produced nationalisms. Based on ethnographic field research in Azerbaijan, which we present in three vignettes, we untangle the affective becoming of national bodies, objects and places during a publicly staged ceremony of the collective remembrance of martyr and the celebration of a national holiday within the realm of a family. The paper makes two contributions to researching affective nationalism. First, it enquires into how people identify with Azerbaijan through their capacities to affect and to be affected by what feels national and, second, it explores how affective nationalism can be captured through vignettes of affective writing.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:07 Jan 2016 07:55
Last Modified:16 Sep 2016 01:00
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0962-6298
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2015.11.002

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