National bodies and affects: A reply to Antonsich and Skey

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We thank Marco Antonsich and Michael Skey for their critical engagement with our Progress in Human Geography article on ‘Nations, materialities and affects’ (Merriman and Jones, 2016; Antonsich and Skey, 2016). In seeking to move beyond an approach grounded in Billig’s (1995) idea of ‘banal nationalism’ – and more recent work on nations approached through the lens of the everyday, performance and materiality (e.g. Jones and Merriman, 2009) – we argued that non-deterministic, relational, post-structuralist approaches to affect can provide a useful addition to the conceptual tool-kit of scholars, enabling ‘more nuanced accounts of the continual backgrounding and foregrounding of relations and tensions, the intermittent flagging and emergent qualities of expressions of nationalism and national identity, and the inter-subjective relations, tensions and affects associated with national and nationalist sentiments and feelings’ (Merriman and Jones, 2016: 4). Antonsich and Skey (2016) perhaps rightly suggest that such an approach ‘is in need of further specification’, particularly around ‘issues of agency, power and method’, and in this response we hope to address some of their queries and concerns
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)846-848
Number of pages3
JournalProgress in Human Geography
Issue number6
Early online date27 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2017


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