Mindless markers of the nation’: The routine flagging of nationhood across the visual environment
journal contributionposted on 18.07.2016, 14:38 by Michael SkeyMichael Skey
The visual environment has increasingly been used as a lens with which to understand wider processes of social and economic change with studies employing in-depth qualitative approaches to focus on, for example, gentrification or trans-national networks. This exploratory paper offers an alternative perspective by using a novel method, quantitative photo mapping, to examine the extent to which a particular socio-cultural marker, the nation, is ‘flagged’ across three contrasting sites in Britain. As a multi-national state with an increasingly diverse population, Britain offers a particularly fruitful case study, drawing in debates around devolution, European integration and Commonwealth migration. In contributing to wider debates around banal nationalism, the paper notes the extent to which nations are increasingly articulated through commerce, consumption and market exchange and the overall significance of everyday markers (signs, objects, infrastructure) in naturalising a national view of the world.