E pluribus unum : scale and American national identity in The Saturday Evening Post 1942-1969
Americans are reminded daily that their society did not emerge from some dark ancestral past but was deliberately created ID a revolutionary, ideological act. In formal state activities and more banal 'flaggings', Americans demonstrate their commitment to the national creed of human freedom, self-government, individualIsm and mutual self-help. Such abstract concepts associated with American civic nationalism, however, require translation into expressive forms that are made to mean something to Americans. It is my thesis that geography, and especially geographical scales, contribute to the provisIOn of that functIOn in the constitution of Amencan national identities. Extendmg recent work in human geography, social theory, and discourse analysis, this thesis analyses banal nationalism in the Saturday Evening Post in the first half of the Cold War to show how national identities can emerge from processes of cultural production. I discuss the social construction of domestic, local, natIonal, and global scales in the Post and the articulation of national IdentitIes through these geographical scales. I analyse the symbols and meanmgs of national identities that each of these scales articulate, as well as identIfying changes and contmuities III those identities over the course of the early Cold War period. The result is a deeper understanding of how civic nationalism operates in American society and how geography is central to that process.