In many parts of the world, nationalism has gone underground. It's there, just beneath the surface, underpinning the social order without requiring, or even permitting, much tinkering. This is the realm of the unselfconscious: nationhood not as an object of purposeful manipulation, but as an unspoken set of assumptions about the national order of things. But if the nation is unseen, unheard, unnoticed, how do we know this? Indeed, how can we know this? In this paper, I elaborate a breaching approach for uncovering the ways the nation is taken for granted. I look to the edges of the nation: the places, times and situations where the nation is on the periphery – the edges – of consciousness, lurking just beneath the surface where it might be teased out with a carefully concocted breach. My aim is to explore and exploit these edges to turn unselfconscious suppositions about the nation into explicit articulations of the nation.
- SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship