Introduction: On the Visual Cultures of the New Nationalisms
This introduction sets up the terms key to the study—contemporary, Western European and nationalism—and briefly summarises the debates and theories constituting an urgent re-evaluation of the critical discourse. Doing so, I claim, provides us with the tools required to understand how cinema reinforces, represents and contests today’s new nationalisms. I work through canonical theories of nationalism (Anderson, Gilroy, Wallerstein, Balibar) and studies of national cinema (Higson, Powrie), to consider the ‘aestheticisation of politics’ (Benjamin) in the nationalist vein. Recognising the dearth of up-to-date existing scholarship in the area, I introduce this collection as a concerted effort to engage with the diverse visual cultures of one of the most pressing challenges of our time.
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