Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism

English language

Published June 1, 1991

ISBN:
9780860915461

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4 stars (10 reviews)

Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism is a book by Benedict Anderson about the development of national feeling in different eras and throughout different geographies across the world. It introduced the term "imagined communities" as a descriptor of a social group—specifically nations—and the term has since entered standard usage in myriad political and social science fields. The book was first published in 1983 and was reissued with additional chapters in 1991 and a further revised version in 2006. The book is widely considered influential in the social sciences, with Eric G.E. Zuelow describing the book as "perhaps the most read book about nationalism." It is among the top 10 most-cited publications in the social sciences.

15 editions

Review of 'Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I listened to the audiobook, which was probably a mistake (despite an excellent reading by the narrator). This book deserves a close reading, but has others have said, the language is overly wrought, and too florid for the ear. This is not the kind of book you can put on and let wash over you. I had to stay still and listen closely (a waste of the audio format!), and used things like www.litcharts.com/lit/imagined-communities to actually understand each chapter. A quick extract for illustrative purposes:

The cosmic clocking which had made intelligible our synchronic transoceanic pairings was increasingly felt to entail a wholly intramundane, serial view of social causality; and this sense of the world was now speedily deepening its grip on Western imaginations.



One thing I definitely do understand is how important this book is. I knew it was a classic, and I can see why. Anyone interested in …

Review of 'Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism' on 'Goodreads'

No rating

Sehr spannendes Buch zur Entstehung von Nationalstaaten. Ich mochte sehr, dass es sich dabei nicht allein auf den Westen bezog, sondern Beispiele aus aller Welt betrachtete. Die größte Schwierigkeit war, dass er sehr häufig im Text herumsprang, so dass ich manchmal nicht mehr wusste, wo wir uns genau befinden. Möchte ich definitiv nochmal lesen.

Review of 'Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Though this book thinks it's about nationalism, and is certainly about that too, it is really about several overlapping ideas, some of which may not even have names. It is about self & other. It is about identification/idealization. It is about the power of giving something a name. It is about the exercising of power through control of the categories of thought.

Anderson introduces the concept of "nation" by distinguishing it from other human communities because people are willing to kill and die for it. Though people may bond over common professions or fandom of sports teams, their attachment rarely will rise to a kill-or-be-killed level, but I wonder about this distinction. If the Spartan (for example) weren't dying for a nation in its modern version, wasn't it the equivalent for its time? In fact, people have always been willing to die for causes. In the present day world, causes …

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