School of Law, Politics and Sociology

Ethnicity, Race and Diverse Societies Research Network

The main aims are:

  • To increase the visibility of ongoing research activities and promote new research on ethnicity, racism and diverse societies across the University of Sussex;
  • To develop national and international links and partnerships with experts, including research institutions, community organisations, national, supranational and local government organisations and policy makers;
  • To inform teaching and learning on race, ethnicity and diversity at undergraduate and postgraduate levels; 

Upcoming events:

  • Talk by Sukhmani Khorana, Cultural Studies, University of Wollongong, 3rd September 2019.
  • Talk by Professor Bridget Anderson, Migration Mobilities Bristol Research Centre, University of Bristol, 3rd October 2019.

Past events:

Everyday nationhood for the 21st century

Speaker: Professor Jon Fox, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol

Cynthia Miller-Idriss and Jon Fox


In 2008, Cynthia Miller-Idriss and I published an article called ‘everyday nationhood’, where we explored how nationhood mattered to ordinary people in their everyday lives.  We felt that top-down approaches to nationalism either neglected this perspective or, worse, inferred a kind of popular nationalist resonance across time and space.  We wanted to know, who cares? – that is, who, of the people in whose name nationalism claims to speak, is invested in or animated by nationalism in everyday life? The answer we suggested was not many.  But whilst nationalism held little experiential relevance for most people, there were other ways in which the category of the nation was meaningful, and made meaningful, for ordinary people. We went on to elaborate four ways ordinary people invoked and enacted ideas about nationhood in the varied contexts of their everyday lives.  Ten years on, the ‘who cares?’ question suggests a rather different set of answers.  Now, there is also a sizeable segment of the population who not only care about nationalism but have also become the principal architects of these new nationalisms.  We appear to be witnessing an inversion of nationalism’s earlier top-down logic with the commitment, urgency, and passion now, at least in part, coming from below.  This is an angry, exclusionary, and at times vindictive nationalism.  Whilst earlier versions of civic nationalism appear to cruise along as before, its earlier ethnic counterpart has now been supplanted by a new and exclusionary racial nationalism.  The purpose of this paper then is to revisit the question of everyday nationhood in light of these changes.  We propose four new modalities of being national:  1) tweeting the nation: the proliferation of everyday nationhood into the far reaches of social media in ways that both democratise and reinvigorate nationalism; 2) feeling the nation: the everyday anger, fear, and resentment that fuels these nationalist revivals; 3) marching the nation: the popular mobilisation of nationalist foot soldiers who transform the virtual world of social media into the actual world of (sometimes violent) confrontation; and 4) branding the nation: the new repertoire of national symbols that turn the nation into an exclusive club.  We argue that nationalism from below has become a DIY nationalism, where yesterday’s consumers have become today’s producers.  Our aim is not to come up with a new theory of nationalism for the 21st century, but rather to elaborate a conceptual framework for how these new nationalisms operate at the level of the everyday. 

Location: Freeman G31

Time: Wednesday, 6 February, 2-3.30 pm

If you would like to join the research network and mailing list, or if you are a student interested in research on ethnicity, race or diverse societies, please contact us.

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Research network @sussexsociology @sussexuni on Ethnicity, Race and Diverse Societies, convened by Laura Morosanu, June Edmunds and @aleks_lewicki

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