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‘Oh motherland I pledge to thee . . .’: a study into nationalism, gender and the representation of an imagined family within national anthems

  • In this paper, we argue that beyond understanding nations as imagined communities, the metaphor of an ‘imagined family’ or ‘filial community’ is a more useful concept towards understanding links between gender and nationhood as family relations in four ways: (1) providing a clear, hierarchical structure; (2) prescribing social roles and responsibilities; (3) being linked to positive affective connotations; and (4) reifying social phenomena as biologically determined. In order to empirically substantiate our claim, we will explore the prevalence and use of family metaphors in a key symbol of nationhood discourses. Through a qualitative analysis of national anthems as ‘mnemonics of national identity’, we demonstrate the widespread presence of family metaphors, discussing how they reproduce ideas of family and gender. Finally, we discuss how the ‘imagined family’ as present in anthems and other forms of national representation could inform future studies of nationalism and national politics.

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Institutes:Fakultät Humanwissenschaften / Lehrstuhl für Persönlichkeitspsychologie und Psychologische Diagnostik
Author:Oliver Lauenstein, Jeffrey S. Murer, Margarete Boos, Stephen Reicher
Title of the journal / compilation (English):Nations and nationalism : journal of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism
Publishing Institution:ASEN
Place of publication:Oxford
Year of publication:2015
Issue:21 (2015), 2
Pages / Size:S. 309 - 329
Keywords:family; gender; metaphor; national anthems; nationalism
Document Type:Article in a journal
Release Date:2015/04/10
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht