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Heritage and Nationalism

Understanding populism through big data

Chiara Bonacchi

£20.00

ISBN: 9781787358027

Publication: March 14, 2022

How was the Roman Empire invoked in Brexit Britain and in Donald Trump’s United States of America, and to what purpose? And why is it critical to answer these kinds of questions? Heritage and Nationalism explores how people’s perceptions and experiences of the ancient past shape political identities in the digital age. It particularly examines the multiple ways in which politicians, parties and private citizens mobilise aspects of the Iron Age, Roman and Medieval past of Britain and Europe to include or exclude ‘others’ based on culture, religion, class, race, ethnicity, etc.

Chiara Bonacchi draws on the results of an extensive programme of research involving both data-intensive and qualitative methods to investigate how pre-modern periods are leveraged to support or oppose populist nationalist arguments as part of social media discussions concerning Brexit, the Italian Election of 2018 and the US-Mexican border debate in the US. Analysing millions of tweets and Facebook posts, comments and replies, this book is the first to use big data to answer questions about public engagement with the past and identity politics. The findings and conclusions revise and reframe the meaning of populist nationalism today and help to build a shared basis for the democratic engagement of citizens in public life in the future. The book offers a fascinating and unmissable read for anyone interested in how the past and its contemporary legacy, or ‘heritage’, influence our ‘political’ thinking and feeling in a time of hyper-interconnectivity.

Praise for Heritage and Nationalism

'This pioneering book reports on a large, data-intensive project about modern life: how important, it asked, are notions of the past – represented here by Iron Age, Roman and early medieval Europe – in affecting decisions in contemporary politics and society? ...We are encouraged, and challenged, in the perhaps surprising if nonetheless significant discovery that “experts” do matter when it comes to determining public information and emphasis.'
British Archaeology

'the work presented in this monograph will provide a strong foundation for future research focusing on social heritage.'
Antiquity

'a compelling, unique, and multifaceted analysis of contemporary dimensions connected to a long and complicated relationship between heritage and nationalism'
Public Archaeology

'Given the strong theoretical framework of the monograph, I am certain that Bonacchi’s notion of 'social heritage' provides fertile ground for future research.'
Archäologische Informationen

'Chiara Bonacchi’s book deserves a great welcome to heritage studies, nationalism studies and populism studies.'
Memory Studies

'Bonacchi and her team are to be commended for their pioneering approach in opening up new directions for further research, giving future scholars the opportunity to build upon their initial findings and methodological frameworks.'
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI)

Chiara Bonacchi is Chancellor's Fellow in Heritage, Text and Data Mining and Senior Lecturer in Heritage at the University of Edinburgh (from March 2022).

List of figures
List of tables
Acknowledgements

1 Introduction
2 Using big data
3 Nationalism, populism and the past 4 Italian populism and the 2018 Election
5 The Brexit referendum
6 The ‘great wall’ of Trump
7 Experts, authority and social fabrics 8 Conclusion: a new perspective

References
Index

'Bonacchi and her team are to be commended for their pioneering approach in opening up new directions for further research, giving future scholars the opportunity to build upon their initial findings and methodological frameworks.'
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI)


 

'Chiara Bonacchi’s book deserves a great welcome to heritage studies, nationalism studies and populism studies.'
Memory Studies


 
'Given the strong theoretical framework of the monograph, I am certain that Bonacchi’s notion of 'social heritage' provides fertile ground for future research.'
Archäologische Informationen
 
'a compelling, unique, and multifaceted analysis of contemporary dimensions connected to a long and complicated relationship between heritage and nationalism'
Public Archaeology
 
'the work presented in this monograph will provide a strong foundation for future research focusing on social heritage.'
Antiquity
 

'This pioneering book reports on a large, data-intensive project about modern life: how important, it asked, are notions of the past – represented here by Iron Age, Roman and early medieval Europe – in affecting decisions in contemporary politics and society? ...We are encouraged, and challenged, in the perhaps surprising if nonetheless significant discovery that “experts” do matter when it comes to determining public information and emphasis.'
British Archaeology


 

‘This book represents an extraordinary contribution to the study of the complex interplays between heritage and nationalism. It proposes a novel approach based on the study of big data from social media, using a range of case studies that encompass from the Italian elections to Brexit Britain and Trump's border policies. A must-read for anyone interested in the uses of the past for present political discourses.’
Manuel Fernández-Götz, University of Edinburgh 


 

‘Bonacchi’s ground-breaking study provides important new approaches to understanding the politics of the past in the present through an exploration of populist nationalism in social media. In doing so, it not only makes a sustained argument regarding the value of social media big data for heritage research, but also shows how social media is transforming heritage and its futures.’
Rodney Harrison, UCL


 

Format: Paperback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

232 Pages

24 colour illustrations

Copyright: © 2022

ISBN: 9781787358027

Publication: March 14, 2022

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