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Table Of Contents

P. 1
Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism

Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism

Ratings:

4.05

(201)
|Views: 154|Likes:
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.
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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Publish date: Nov 17, 2006
Added to Scribd: Sep 06, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9781844674848
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9781844674848

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thcson reviewed this
This book wasn't as original as I had hoped it would be. Many of the ideas presented here have gained wide currency in later scholarship and that's what makes them seem familiar, I suppose. Still this book has an impressively broad scope and the author discusses a variety of different cases so it's a good read.
sotirfan reviewed this
Rated 5/5
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.
davecullen_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
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.)
ndkchk reviewed this
Rated 4/5
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.
stevil2001 reviewed this
This book was something of a difficult read. Anderson does his best, though-- he's actually quite good at clearly separating and enumerating multiple points. There's some great ideas in here, too, about what constitutes a nation, where nations came from, what cultural artifacts constitute a nation, and so on; he attributes nations to the rise of what he calls "print capitalism" as well as the collapse of a universal Catholic Church, among other things. I suppose what makes it inaccessible at times is the supporting data, which often derives from the South Pacific and other areas where I lack historical context and knowledge. Anderson has great ideas, but I feel like they get lost within the book-- discussing it with others and drawing these ideas out is highly recommended. Or, you can just read the chapter of Jonathan Culler's The Literary in Theory where he essentially summarizes the whole book for you. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the book was the food for thought it provides about what comes after the nation-- Anderson doesn't really discuss this at all, but you can't help thinking about it and wondering...
scapegoats reviewed this
Rated 4/5
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 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
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 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
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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Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism