Visual Rhetoric of Classical European Nationalism


The author analyzes the forms, features, and main directions of visualization within the nationalist text. This article delves into the study of the nationalist imagination and political discourse. Beginning in the late 18th century, nationalism emerged as a social and cultural factor that steered the vectors and trajectories of political development in Western societies. The article examines the forms of interdependence between nationalist discourse and the visualization of political imagination, which plays a pivotal role in the invention and construction of identities. It underscores that the discursive and visual methods of constructing national identities evolved concurrently. Visualization both complemented and recalibrated the primary vectors of transformations in narrative and discursive forms of the nationalist imagination. The political rhetoric of nationalism transitioned into a visual realm, and its visualization resulted in a fusion of the traditions of both “high” and “low” cultures. This visual rhetoric of the nationalist imagination catalyzed the transformation of ethnic groups into modern nations, viewed as imagined communities. While the visual techniques in the nationalistic metatext could vary, they often shared certain characteristics. Visual imagination emerged as an integral component of identity formation in rhetorical discourse. The amalgamation of political and visual rhetoric ensured continuity between various forms of identities and the cultures they fostered. Narrative forms of political rhetoric were enriched by visual ones, especially when the nationalist imagination was crafting and promoting images of Self and Otherness. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the nationalist discourse of European nationalisms operated as a dichotomy, rooted in a blend of political rhetoric and visual imagination.
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