Belgium is a unique country that uses a federal solution to construct a civic nation from two competing ethnic and cultural identities. In the north is the Flemish region, in the south, Wallonia, and in the middle, the capitol and mainly French speaking, city of Brussels. There is also a small German-speaking region in the east. These regions are divided along linguistic and cultural differences, but are united under one state. Talks of the country breaking up are not uncommon, but hardly ever get anywhere. Neither of the two communities would be willing to give up Brussels, which can be classified as neither Flemish nor Walloon. Much of the cultural differences between the two regions are exaggerated by politicians. For almost 200 days last year, the political tension was so high that the national government could not reach a consensus, and it was unsure who would govern the country. Despite these ethno-linguistic boundaries, there is a movement for Belgian nationalism, as shown when many citizens flew the Belgian flag during the past political crisis.
[...] In the age of mass communication, they give Belgian culture a clear and distinctive voice that reaches vast numbers of people” (Screech, 206). Bibliography Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism. Revised Edition, London: Verso Claeys, P.H., E. De Graeve-Lismont, and N. Loeb-Mayer. European or National? The 1979 Election in Belgium. Brussels: University of Brussels Deprez, Kas, and Louis Vos. Nationalism in Belgium. New York: St. Martin's Press Erk, Jan. "Sub-state nationalism and the left–right divide: critical junctures in the formation of nationalist labour movements in Belgium." Nations and Nationalism 11(2005): 551-570. [...]
[...] The comic first appeared in a Belgian newspaper in 1929, and became a huge success: the circulation of the newspaper quadrupled when Tintin appeared in it (Goddin, 119). In 1946 Tintin got his own weekly magazine, Le journal de Tintin in French and Kuifje in Dutch. The magazine specialized in realistic comics in the style of Tintin, and published many famous series such as Blake and Mortimer, Alix, and of course Tintin. At its most popular, it circulated 600,000 copies a week in Belgium, France and Holland (Goddin, 257). Tintin and Hergé gave bande dessinées a distinct franco-belgian identity and paved the way for many Belgian artists. [...]
[...] At the same time, they have to agree on issues of national importance, which is designed to create and maintain least some common regulating institutions that will give expression to common political sentiments and purposes” (Smith, the idea of ‘patria.' In the past, Belgian government has favored French-speakers, but since, Flemish citizens have fought peacefully to gain equal rights. In Belgium there is legal and political equality among all citizens, with a common federal code of laws over and above local laws, for example, all Belgians are required to vote. [...]
[...] This civic concept of national identity fits perfectly with the Belgian state. Although state refers exclusively to public institutions, while the nation signifies a cultural and political bond, it is under that state in which Belgians find their imagined community. In the following pages, I will try to show that Belgium does have a national identity, and that by examining its rich culture through distinctly Belgian comics, we can become closer to understanding the structure of that identity. The essence of the civic model of nation is territorial. [...]
[...] The magazine Spirou also played host to other legendary series, such as Lucky Luke and Gaston Lagaffe by André Franquin. Pilote was another cartoon periodical, albeit a less successful one, published from 1959 up until 1989. It carried many famous comics, most notably Rubrique-à-brac and Astérix de Gaulois. In Rubrique-à-brac, Marcel Gotlib was a master of using culture as a jump-off for his jokes. He followed in the style of the American publication Mad, referencing Belgian and Francophone BD and popular culture. everyone necessarily understands my humor. [...]
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