Street Nationalism

~America; Land of the Free and Home of the Brave~

Americans have commercialized quotes, symbols, icons, myths, and holidays into our culture’s short history which have become recognizable worldwide. However, some countries cease to exploit their nationalism explicitly and as a result, share more intimate, and private ideas of nationalism. Anthropologist Dennis Zuev explores the streets of Portugal and ponders; “Portugal is a tourist country with sun, sea, and gastronomy, so promoting Portugueseness pays dividends. Why not commercialize a few national symbols?” His answer is surprising. He delves into the idea of “street nationalism” which he describes “that is made perceptive to everyone on a daily basis”. Interestingly enough, Portugal focuses its advertisements and more important icons to more subtle things such as native food, beer, and souvenirs specially crafted for tourists to take home. Zuev is surprised to see one advertisement, promoting beer, at a bus stop which infers that, “everyone identifying as Portuguese, no matter where they live, can be united under the Sagres flag. I don’t have my sun (in London) but I have my Sagres. I don’t have my Alfama (in New York) but I have my Sagres”. These small acts contribute to the idea of “street nationalism” as it lacks the ability to be noted worldwide for Portugal, but rather a way for the people of Portugal to be united in their respective communities. Zuev’s findings in his idea of “street nationalism” help us understand the different cultural values that each country believes in. 




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