Degree Name

Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies (Honours)


School of Social Sciences, Media and Communication

Recommended Citation

Travis Holland, Television Nations: Imagined Communities in the Simpsons , Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies (Honours) thesis, School of Social Sciences, Media and Communication, Faculty of Arts, University of Wollongong, 2012.


Since debuting in 1989, The Simpsons has become a much-loved and studied television program. In every episode, the series deals with a variety of issues in sharp self-conscious satirical style. This paper responds to a call from Michael Billig for academic work examining the appearance of banal nationalism in popular culture (1995). The study is strongly informed by the process of imagining nations identified by Benedict Anderson (1991). It also draws on work by Edward Said (1978) and Stuart Hall (1997). The method and form of imagining and representing nations in The Simpsons is established and analysed. The dominant presence of the United States is also addressed. It is argued that there are evident and inherent politics of exclusion in the practice of representing nations, and this practice extends to The Simpsons as it does to other media. This paper establishes seven elements of nation that can be found in The Simpsons: name; flag; territory/place; gastronomy; national days; historical events; and national institutions. These elements are mapped through a detailed content analysis supplemented by a structuralist discourse analysis. It is laid out in five chapters, covering an introductory section, a comprehensive literature review, a methodological outline, a results and discussion chapter, followed by a concluding section.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.