'But we can still rise now', runs a line of Scotland's unofficial national anthem Flower of Scotland, 'and be the nation again' who defeated the English King Edward II in 1314 at the Battle of Bannockburn. These short lines tell us much about the ...
concept of the nation. Firstly, the pronoun of the nation is 'we'. Secondly, nationhood remains aspirational for some, while it is entirely taken-for-granted for others. Thirdly, nations often trace their origins back to an implausibly dim and distant past. Finally, it points to the fundamentally discursive nature of the nation: the nation appears not as something which simply is, but as something which can be, called into existence through talk, official documents, official and unofficial national anthems, ceremonies and parades, monuments and statuary, press coverage and, increasingly, television. This book, which arose out of a conference held in Tarragona in 2007, focuses on the complex discourses of the nation to be found in the television systems of twelve different countries, examining how these circulate in fiction, in news and documentary (including re-enactment formats), and in entertainment programs, adverts and the coverage of large-scale sporting events. The nation which emerges is everywhere and nowhere, talked about endlessly but never finally grasped, repeatedly staged and re-enacted but lacking a foundational script. In short, it is a site of struggle. The stakes are high, since the nation when mobilized is a force to be reckoned with, and the on-going attempts to define it are many, varied and often highly creative. This book details many such events, from the high drama of war reporting to the self-mocking irony of ten-second commercial spots.