“... sparkling, readable, densely packed...”—Peter Worsley, Guardian
Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalismby Benedict Anderson
Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson’s brilliant book on nationalism, forged a new field of study when it first appeared in 1983. Since then it has sold over a quarter of a million copies and is widely considered the most important book on the subject. In this greatly anticipated revised edition, Anderson updates and elaborates on the core question: what makes people live and die for nations, as well as hate and kill in their name?
Anderson examines the creation and global spread of the ‘imagined communities’ of nationality, and explores the processes that created these communities: the territorialization of religious faiths, the decline of antique kinship, the interaction between capitalism and print, the development of secular languages-of-state, and changing conceptions of time and space. He shows how an originary nationalism born in the Americas was adopted by popular movements in Europe, by imperialist powers, and by the movements of anti-imperialist resistance in Asia and Africa.
In a new afterword, Anderson examines the extraordinary influence of Imagined Communities, and the book’s international publication and reception, from the end of the Cold War era to the present day.
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Meet the Author
Benedict Anderson was Aaron L. Binenkorp Professor of International Studies Emeritus at Cornell University. He was Editor of the journal Indonesia and author of numerous books including A Life Beyond Boundaries, Java in a Time of Revolution, The Spectre of Comparisons: Nationalism, Southeast Asia, and the World and The Age of Globalization: Anarchists and the Anticolonial Imagination.
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The author of the book, Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson, Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, promotes a process that people of different cultures go through in order to reach a point where they feel a kinship with people that they have not even met. When there is this togetherness, a people can be considered a nation. This kinship does not make a nation real though. There is not a short answer for why a nation is an imagined community. The professor described nationalism as an anomaly. The point that nationalism has philosophical poverty, or lack of a stable base in order to rise as a mindset demotes it to a substance without merit, to imagination. The professor goes on to describe that a nation is imagined because the people who feel a camaraderie will not know even most of the people in their group. It is required that in order to belong to a group in reality, one has to know all the members of their group. Failure of this causes the togetherness to be imagined only. This thought describes that nationhood was borne out of necessity and not reality because independent thought brought by Enlightened thinkers, that being royal was not proof that God would speak and lead the people, showed that people were somehow equal and subsequent Revolution and overthrow left a power vacuum. Now more than any other during the age of technology and instant communication nationwide, nations are imaginary on a grander scale. The process of nationhood is too long to describe on one page since it includes religion, the decline of kingships, capitalism and books, and languages being used in government. It was shown that this process rises from necessity and not legitimacy. This is a good book to describe this concept.
An excellent book with plenty of insights into society.