Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism

Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism

by Benedict Anderson

Paperback(Older Edition)

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Anderson's seminal work shows how the European processes of inventing nationalism were transported to the Third World through colonialism and adapted by subject races in Latin America and Asia.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780860915461
Publisher: Verso Books
Publication date: 07/17/1991
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.09(w) x 9.17(h) x 0.64(d)

About 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.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition xi

1 Introduction 1

2 Cultural Roots 9

3 The Origins of National Consciousness 37

4 Creole Pioneers 47

5 Old Languages, New Models 67

6 Official Nationalism and Imperialism 83

7 The Last Wave 113

8 Patriotism and Racism 141

9 The Angel of History 153

10 Census, Map, Museum 163

11 Memory and Forgetting 187

Travel and Traffic: On the Geo-biography of Imagined Communities 207

Bibliography 230

Index 234

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From the Publisher

"Sparkling, readable, densely packed." —-Peter Worsley, Guardian

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Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Ndkchk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Coming from the perspective of someone who'd read post-Anderson stuff before this book, I still understood why it was groundbreaking, I think, but it didn't absolutely knock my socks off.Anderson is a great treatment of nationalism and I agreed with a lot of what he had to say; sometimes he was a little vague in ways that helped his arguments, but overall it's very much worth reading. Of course, if you're at all interested in nationalism, you've probably either already read this book or are going to read it regardless of what this review says.
DaveCullen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Extraordinary book on nationalism, and how we create these images of who we are.(I took a graduate course in Cultural Anthropology on ethnicity and nationalism, where we read a tremendous amount of the current academic thinking on related topics, and I found nearly all of it appallingly bad: in a world all their own, little touch with reality, and also a ridiculous fog index in the writing. There were a few gems in there, though, and this was the standout, by far. And more than a decade later, it has held up. This book has stuck with me.)
sotirfan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although Anderson's theory is far from perfect, and on the whole I think it's been improved upon, this gets five stars for originality.
Scapegoats on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A thorough attempt to understand the rise of nationalism. He attributes the primary causes to be the decline of religion and the rise of capitalism. Decline of religion caused a different conception of time, moving from a sense of divine plan to an unplanned, almost random sense of time. And nationalism provided a place to put loyalties and sense of identity that was lost to religion. Not a particularly convincing thesis and he doesn't develop it much. He is more convincing on factors that allowed nationalism to flourish, including printing capitalism, colonialism (which created and cemented certain nations), and a decline of dynastic legitimacy. Of course, his big idea of nations being constructed is the most important concept and the big worth of the book. Anyone reading about nationalism needs to read this book, if only because all other books on the subject reference it.
waitingtoderail on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An intriguing look at how the sense of "nationality" came to be - it's more recent than you might think, since the advent of the printed page. Anderson uses examples from Southeast Asia, his area of speciality, to illustrate his points.
daleducatte on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book, one of my favorites. Provides a framework for studying and understanding how cultures change over time, and how people and institutions (including business enterprises and government) react to those changes. The book also shows how critical print and publishing industries were to the massive societal changes that have occurred over the past few centuries. And it shows how traditional institutions (such as European aristocracies, and later governments) reacted to change and attempted to solidify their institutional control. Especially interesting to me were Anderson¿s discussions of the use of state-controlled education and propaganda in the colonies populated by European expansion, to influence native residents or, in some cases, to create a line of segregation between European colonizers and a region¿s original inhabitants.I strongly recommend this book to anyone studying history, societies, or cultural change. It is not always an easy read, but once you grasp what Anderson is trying to say, you¿ll see elements of his work (or at least, his essential themes) in anything else on society or culture that you read.
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Magma45 More than 1 year ago
An excellent book with plenty of insights into society.