Given the ubiquity of flags in the modern world, and their multiple uses, there are surprisingly few social science studies of flags. The studies that do exist cluster round two closely related themes: ethnicity, nationalism, patriotism and ethno-national identity (e.g. Billig 1995; Marvin and Ingle 1999; Perryman 2005; Sorek 2004; Weitman 1973) and, more specifically, struggles over symbolic ‘heritage’ with deep roots in long-standing and unresolved civil conflicts. Examples of the latter – which are, of course, necessarily concerned with identity-related issues, too – include studies of political parading and symbolism in Northern Ireland (Bryan 2000; Bryson and McCartney 1994; Jarman 1997), of the contemporary resonances of the flag of the Confederacy in the southern United States (Leib 1995; Webster and Leib 2001, 2002), and of national flag-burning in the United States (Goldstein 1995, 1996a; Welch 2000). A common thread running through these studies is an assumption, whether tacit or explicit, that flags inspire strong, perhaps even exceptional, emotional responses, which can be positive or negative, in those for whom they are symbols of group affiliation.