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Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Revised Edition Paperback – November 17, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; Revised edition (November 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844670864
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844670864
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“[S]parkling, readable, densely packed.”—Peter Worsley, The Guardian

“[A] brilliant little book.”—Neal Ascherson, The Observer

“Anderson’s knowlege of a vast range of relevant historical literature is most impressive; his presentation of the gist of it is both masterly and lucid.”—Edmund Leach, The New Statesman

About the Author

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 and Imagined Communities.

More About the Author

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 and Imagined Communities.

Customer Reviews

Unfortunately, this edition does not.
A. Ward
And Anderson is an original thinker, and his book really nails the concept, origin and development of nationalism.
marianne david
Read this for an anth class but it's actually really an interesting book.
Kathryn Mckesson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 84 people found the following review helpful By A. Ward on February 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was disappointed in this 'new edition', because it is a missed opportunity.

When it was first published in 1983, 'Imagined Communities' deservedly became a classic in the analysis of nationalism - and an excellent antidote to those who beat nationalist drums. As the new chapter (on the 'geobiography of the book') at the end of this edition outlines, the book has now been published in 30 countries and 27 languages.

Partly inspired by Anderson, the debates on nationalism have moved on considerably in the subsequent 23 years. I was hoping that a new/revised edition would at least note these debates, and preferably comment and analyse them. Unfortunately, this edition does not. Indeed, even though the 'Preface to the second edition' (written in 1991) refers to the excellent 1990 book by Eric Hobsbawm 'Nations and Nationalism', that Hobsbawm text does not get a listing in the bibliography. There is little in the bibliography post 1983, and nothing since around 1990.

While the initial book is still well worth reading (hence the three stars), there is unfortunately little to recommend in this 'new edition'
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Herbert L Calhoun on December 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
The thesis of this book in important ways parallels that of Patrick J. Geary in the "The Myth of Nations," and the international systems analysis of the late Dr. Charles A. McClelland.

The present author, Benedict Anderson, offers the thesis that nations are creations of modern communication networks, and remain the shared and collective figmentation of people's imagination. In his view, both belonging to a nation, and the nation itself, depend on individual perceptions rather than on more objective factors such as borders and natural resources, etc. His view emphasizes the point that political nations exist only to the extent they exist in people's minds.

Greary's view overlaps with this one in the sense that nations arise as a result of the coordinated efforts of ethnic elites, who purposefully create legends that are "tacked on before the fact" in a conscious effort to provide a basis for creating national cohesion, pride and fealty, a kind of proto-nationalism.

The late Dr. Charles A. McClelland would undoubtedly support Anderson's communications-centered definition of a nation state. In fact, in his World famous research project "The World Event Interaction Survey," known best by the acronym "the WEIS Project," he went much further, by arguing that the international relations of states themselves constitutes a "communications system" composed of millions of discrete day-to-day interactions of both a diplomatic and a cultural nature going on between nation states. These "inputs" and "outputs" or transactions from individual states can seen as defining the character and personality of those states. He dubbed this global communications arrangement, writ large, as "the international system.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Charles Oltorf on July 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is something of a classic of sociology but not a light read. Very briefly, the thesis of "Imagined Communities" is that political nations are the creation of modern communication networks (definition of modern: post-Gutenberg). When one stops to think about it, this insight seems intuitive. After all, how can people relate to other people unless there is first communication among them? In a world in which most people are illiterate and never travel beyond their villages, of course they would not think of themselves as belonging to a great nation of people since they would most likely be unable to imagine such a concept. With widespread literacy, the possibility exists of having communities of people who are not in direct contact with one another. Benedict Anderson takes this insight about nationhood and discusses how these imagined communities of people not directly in contact with one another may be formed. It is not surprising that the nations of Europe have formed around linguistic communities since having a common language facilitates communication. However, a sense of alienation from a ruling class may also facilitate a sense of nationhood, as it did in the Americas in the late 18th century when our founding fathers (and those of Latin America)felt themselves excluded from the political lives of their mother countries. Having the means to communicate throughout their colonies made possible the recognition of common feelings among these colonials. Futhermore, a sense of nationhood may be fostered by a state that creates through its educational system and its media a sense of shared experiences (eg, national holidays, national heroes, and national myths).Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By kate on April 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A must-read for anyone interested in colonial, nationalist, and postcolonial studies. Anderson's insights into print culture and the decline of religious power in the West and these two contributions to the rise of nationalism are of particular interest. Once you understand his theory of flat, homogeneous time, it's hard to think about modern print journalism in different terms. Anderson's concept of nationhood may be idyllic at times (nations are not unflinchingly unified, happy and wonderful, as this text would make it seem), but the text as a whole deserves its place in the canon of postcolonial theory.
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