Nationalism and everyday life

The nationalization of culture is extremely pervasive in everyday life practices, creating tacit knowledge on “this is how we do things here” or “this is where the home is”. Through everyday practices - the material culture surrounding us, the way we talk to each other, etc. - a sense of belonging is created and is continuously reproduced. Being Danish, German, or Polish is defining –not least when confronted by outsiders or abroad, and when we are reminded of  other ways of doing things than what is ordinary habits at home.

In the 1990s, the nationalization of culture and the role of the nation-state was characterized as a soon to be closed chapter in the cultural history of Europe. Almost 30 years later, this seems not to be the case, and the nation-states still appear surprisingly robust. The nation-state and a sense of nationalism still make people fight and struggle. Within the European Union political nationalism challenges the stability of the union at the same time as being foundational for the existence of the Union. Nations matter.

In the field of Ethnology, national identity formation and negotiation processes are of key research interest whether the past, the present and the future is explored. Further research is needed into the processes of everyday nationalization, which can lead to new understandings of the robustness as well as the struggles of national imageries, answering why the nation-state is still with us but also causing tensions and continuous negotiations.

Suggested PhD/post doc project:

Everyday nationalization

The aim of the postdoc/PhD project is to develop an analytical framework for studying how cultural, symbolic and political forms of national imaginaries find expression through everyday life practices, and how the idea of the nation-state, transnationalism, globalization, and the dreams connected with these entities and perceptions of the world continue to be negotiated and find new ground. The ethnographic approach can be comparative or could be based on a single case of everyday life nationalization processes as well as including an historical perspective.

Responsible researcher

Associate Professor, PhD, Marie Riegels Melchior is responsible for the theme Nationalism and everyday life. She is trained as an ethnologist and specialized in 20th century Danish fashion and design history as well as museum studies with a particular focus on Danish cultural history museums and ‘fashion museology’. Marie is currently involved in research networks concerning heritagization and everyday life and fashion and youth cultures in the Arctic region. Together with Nordic ethnology colleagues, Marie Riegels Melchior is the Danish representative of the editorial board of the journal Ethnologia Scandinavica. A Journal for Nordic Ethnology and on the editorial board of the interdisciplinary, open-access journal Fashion Studies (