Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson
Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Benedict Anderson

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Benedict Anderson is Aaron L. Binenkorp Professor of International Studies Emeritus at Cornell University. He is editor of the journal Indonesia and author of Java in a Time of Revolution, The Spectre of Comparisons: Nationalism, Southeast Asia, and the World, Imagined Communities and Under Three Flags.
 
Published May 1, 1998 by Verso. 224 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Imagined Communities

Suite 101

A challenging new book aims to change forever the perception of Stone Age Britons from the primitive to the sophisticated.

Feb 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Imagined Communities: Reflect...

London Review of Books

Anderson sees that the nation and the literate are not identical groups, and that literacy in someone else’s culture, as for many upper-class Indians under British rule, if not accompanied by equality of opportunity, may foster a hostile nationalism.

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London Review of Books

If we were to say that the last 25 years have seen the implanting and diffusion of a ‘screen capitalism’ – one in which print and image and map and diagram are made available to individual users in what seems an equalised and immensely speeded-up field of symbolic production – would that lead us ...

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Project MUSE

With the possible exception, however, of Gilbert's own piece (on maps), a collectively written essay on "Diasporic Communities in the Global City," and, marginally, Angela Woollacott's investigation of Australian reactions to the Great Wen, the essays here do not uphold an analogy between London ...

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