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National symbols and ordinary people's response: London and Athens, 1850-1914

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This article explores the appeal of national symbols in London and Athens over the second half of the nineteenth century. It attempts to show that nationalism and its paraphernalia were a section of a wider middle-class ideological-political framework which slightly, if at all, touched the 'masses'. In London, nationalism and national symbols were inherently linked with respectability, thus barely reflected the social conditions of the poor and illiterate bulk of the population. In Athens, nationalists' emphasis on neoclassicism resulted in the construction of symbols promoting the classical Greek past: a terrain of 'zero knowledge' for ordinary people.
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Keywords: Modernity; Nation-state capital; National consciousness; National identity; Neoclassicism; Respectability; Traditionalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Leicester UK

Publication date: 2004-03-01

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