These standard dialects became “prestige” versions of languages and, because they were now written down, changed much less than oral languages through the ages. In this widely acclaimed work, Benedict Anderson examines the creation and global spread of the 'imagined communities' of nationality. This was nationalism, which stated that people should be able to live in their own countries and not have to deal with an Austro-Hungarian royal family. This is how Spain, Britain, Italy came to be part of the Roman Empire and Afghanistan and India became part of the Mughal Empire. Originally, the creation of prestige through print was unintentional. Anderson then turns to two smaller cases of nationalism that were somewhat different from the three he previously discussed. Because they commemorate “Unknown Soldiers,” these ghostly tombs become symbols of something greater; dying for one’s country is the ultimate sacrifice, which cenotaphs seem to suggest will live forever. The League of Nations, which regarded these new countries as the norm for international relations, took over from the imperial bureaucracies that handled diplomatic relations before. The takeaway here is that through the use of language, nationalism was able to gain momentum in nineteenth-century Europe. It was a particular format that made this all possible. The metaphor explained why European elites embraced vernaculars they had previously rejected for generations and how the Americas got to nationalism first. In his fourth chapter, Anderson turns to the earliest nationalist movements, which were in the Americas (not in Europe) and led by the elite creole classes (not by the disenfranchised masses). That’s what happened in the nineteenth century as European scholars started compiling dictionaries of different languages. Even better, it helps you remember what you read, so you can make your life better. People even go so far as dying for their country rather than something like a political party or an international organization because they believe that one cannot choose his/her country but must love it unconditionally. Anderson also discusses the British Empire. They even rebuilt those ties as soon as independence was achieved. The process was slower in places like Austria-Hungary, where various groups fought for the right to have their own languages used instead of others. Nationalism can be open to new members of society who learn the language and naturalize, while racism dreams of eternal contamination by other races. Anderson located the rise of national identities within a long-evolving crisis of dynastic Anderson suggests that books were an extreme form of publication before newspapers became popularized under industrial capitalism. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. The second example is an Indonesian court case that reveals that the native Cirebonese classified people by social status while the Dutch categorized them as Chinese. He also goes to villages and monasteries, but in each location he finds people suffering from poor care or neglect on the part of the government. The rulers tried to tell their subjects that they were all one nation even though they knew better than that because of how different they were from their rulers who spoke English or French while they spoke Hindi or Swahili. Maps used to be a way of representing places, but they were not as detailed or accurate as we have today. Not so, according to Benedict Anderson’sImagined Communities(Anderson 1983).Nations are a purely modern manifestation which arecreated for political purposes.It is my aim to summarizeAnderson’s Summary Anderson sets the stage of this work by defining nations as imagined , limited, and sovereign communities . Themes. Benjamin describes history as an angel looking back at one catastrophe after another which cannot be changed by him; this can be applied to human history because we’re powerless against it. At the same time, watches were being made faster than ever before, newspapers were becoming more common, and novels were gaining popularity as well. 1-Page Summary of Imagined Communities Overview Nationalism is a cultural system that people use to feel connected. After the Middle Ages, people of different religions began meeting one another, vernacular languages started displacing sacred ones in print, and people started thinking of “history as an endless chain of cause and effect,” rather than as the preordained will of God. However, there was another cause for nationalism: Europeans copied their American counterparts who had already revolted and built nations. Anderson asks why the newspaper is a cultural product. This happened because colonialism forced everyone to use one language, so they could all be taught the same things and move around easily from place to place for school. An imagined community is a concept developed by Benedict Anderson in his 1983 book Imagined Communities, to analyze nationalism. Attempts to make sense of them are at the heart of most traditional belief systems that attempt to answer these questions with religion or mythology; however, modern philosophies ignore these issues because they cannot be proven using scientific methods (Marxists believe that after we die we’re reincarnated into another body). Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Study Guide of “Imagined Communities” by Benedict Anderson. This phenomenon first occurred in North America because this continent had more true nation-states than any other region in the world at that time. There has never been a great thinker treating this concept as thoroughly as other concepts. Imagined Communities Summary and Study Guide Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Study Guide of “Imagined Communities” by Benedict Anderson. However…. This left non-European territories under European control. Instead, he says these epithets are powerful because they deny their targets the dignity of being a nation. Nationalist novels written in vernacular started portraying communities living together on bounded territorial entities while newspapers constructed imagined communities out of their readers through their cultural products like advertisements and news stories. So, languages could be both the dynasty’s language and the people’s language, but it had to choose between different options. What would happen to them? Anderson concludes that China, Vietnam and Cambodia are not unique in their conflicts. Although language is an important contributor in creating national consciousness, Anderson argues that it is not essential from the twentieth century onwards. People in a nation are like characters in a novel who interact with each other but never actually meet face-to-face. Each community considered its language sacred because it was used for religious purposes. The platitudes of Marxist countries’ solidarity or opposition to nationalism will get in the way of learning about history. Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities: a symposium JOHN BREUILLY London School of Economics, UK Introduction Benedict (Ben) Anderson died in Java on 12 December 2015 at the age of 79. Second, they were used as an excuse to prove that the natives had always been ruled by more advanced peoples or that their time had come and gone. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, (Verso, 1983, 2nd edition, 1991, Revised edition, 2006). Chapter 7: The Last Wave, 113-140 The last wave of nationalism was the transformation of the colonial-state to the national state. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Our genetic heritage, parents, and physical abilities are all determined by chance. In these cases, there were more wars between different kinds of nationalists than there were between nationalists and Marxists. The Friend. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism [1983], Revised Edition (London: Verso, 2006), pp. We’ve scoured the Internet for the very best videos on Imagined Communities, from high-quality videos summaries to interviews or commentary by Benedict Anderson. eNotes.com will help you with any book or any question. Chapters 7-9 Summary In Chapter Seven, Anderson examines the final wave of nations that have gained independence since the end of World War II. th … As we’ve discussed, printing allowed readers to begin imagining themselves as members of a secular community. Because China was thought to be homogeneous, Dutch officials decided all Chinese should dress and act alike and insisted on it even if they weren’t from China originally. This is one reason why nationalism began in America, not Europe. They were the first to print books in Europe and, like every other form of capitalism, they searched for new markets. This process was driven largely by capitalism and the printing press. Heavy: An American Memoir. In the fourth chapter, Anderson discusses how nationalism developed in America. The most common formation “was a coalition between lesser gentries (middle class), academics (professors), professionals (doctors/lawyers) and businessmen that provided leaders with standing; myths; newspapers; and money” while also allowing them to market themselves throughout Europe regardless of their native tongue. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Imagined Communities. The idea behind nationalism is that the nation should be run by those who look and talk like them. This meant identity formed not on the level of the empire as a whole, but rather on that of individual colonies with creoles born in the same colony able to collectively lament their shared subjugation to the Spanish. In conclusion, Anderson turns to the significance of the census, map, and museum. Nationalism began in Asia and Africa as a response to the new imperialism created by industrialization, which included large empires with growing bureaucracies and school systems. The author then goes on to explain that the idea of nationalism is often associated with hatred and racism. Anderson depicts a nation as a socially constructed community, imagined by the people who perceive themselves as part of that group. In the Americas, there was no ancient order to restore, so nationalists turned to History. The invention of the printing press made books more available to people. There were still differences between these nations, however: for instance, the huge and diverse archipelago of Indonesia, colonized but ruled indirectly be the Dutch, became a single nation after World War II in large part because of the spread of standard Malay (now called bahasa Indonesia) and the centralization of higher education in a few universities in western Java. He explains that it’s because of two things: stories happen at the same time, and newspapers are read by people all around the city on the same day they’re published. The way newspapers define news creates a sense of what is important to the world. Bilingualism, Western education and the intelligentsia brought about a new class of people who were more aware of European history and saw themselves as part of a larger nation. In contrast, people from Laos and Cambodia formed distinct identities. They used history as a means of giving meaning to acts of the dead who died in service of their countries or for those who were killed in revolutions. Anderson attributes this mostly to print capitalism because it allowed ideas and information to spread quickly throughout Europe. Eventually the colonies gained independence from their imperial masters and admitted that official nationalism wasn’t real—it was just a way for the ruling class to maintain control over those under them. The country didn’t become an integrated nation until the late 1800s and early 1900s. This goes against the logic of multinational empires, which want to control many nations with diverse populations. Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities has long been established as one of the major contributions to theories of nations and nationalism. A nineteenth century German philosopher, Hegel, once said that newspapers were a substitute for morning prayers. A famous work of literature written in Spanish, the language of the colonizers and oppressors, is different from a famous work written in an indigenous Filipino language. But then Indonesian nationalists started using maps with half of New Guinea cut off from Indonesia as an example of their struggle for independence; this helped spread their message across Indonesia. Chapter 10-Afterward. The whole doc is available only for registered users OPEN DOC. There is also no good theory about where nations come from or why they exist at all in Marxist ideology so Marxists tend to ignore them. Nineteenth-century Europe was a patchwork of multinational empires. Ancient civilizations were much more diverse than previously believed and many of them existed before Greek or Jewish culture. He offers many examples such as Russia’s forcing its national language on linguistic minorities or Thailand copying European empires’ diplomatic infrastructure projects in order to avoid being invaded by them. It also helped Luther spread his message about reforming the Catholic Church, which was a big deal because Rome used to be able to stop anyone who opposed its views from spreading their own. Anderson begins by saying that the rise of printing helped to create horizontal-secular, transverse-time national communities because of capitalism. First, many people had to read because they were bureaucrats and wanted to work as colonial administrators. Kings kept concubines and married into one another in order to consolidate their rule over different peoples. Both monarchs used nationalism to prevent their countries from being marginalized or excluded in an emerging national community formed around empires like Britain’s. Empires often define membership by religious or dynastic terms, but nations are different. Religious and imperial languages are written rather than spoken. Download "Imagined Communities Book Summary, by Benedict Anderson" as PDF. Imagined Communities gives us the beginning of a way to think about just such matters, in its treatment of the effect of print capitalism on the day-to-day imagining of those things called ‘languages’, and its reflections on the role of the newspaper and the novel. He thinks that the concept needs a “Copernican” rethinking, and that nation-ness and nationalism are cultural artefacts with roots in the late 18th century. As more newspapers started using these vernaculars, they were able to communicate with larger audiences about national interests and how they could contribute towards them. In the next chapter, Anderson explores how printed texts helped to spread ideas and influence people. However today we see time differently; we view it as homogeneous empty time. This was both unprecedented and reasonable because it offered a vision for revolutionaries around the world to follow. After cornering the proportionally small Latin market, book sellers began publishing in vernacular languages like English. The class led to the independence of many countries, including Angola, Egypt and Vietnam. In the eighteenth century, a new concept began to emerge. Anderson argues that the only limit to learning another language is one’s mortality. Readers rarely read newspapers from other cities because it took a long time for news to arrive there. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. Some countries have tried to deal with the issue of nationalism by creating a top-down approach. When religion declined in importance and lost its political role after the Enlightenment, nationalism conveniently took its place in giving meaning to people’s striving for improvement, service to their overlords, and even deaths. These helped millions of believers feel connected to one another because they shared the same language. Start Your Free Trial. They provide hope by linking the dead, living and unborn into an eternal chain of death and regeneration. The officials did not distinguish between different groups, and instead treated everyone as despised natives. When a single language was adopted for all purposes (and each dynasty wanted to gain legitimacy), they gained popularity and faced opposition from others who spoke other languages. Benedict Anderson’s study of nationalism starts by rejecting the assumption that nations are a natural or inevitable social unit. With the corresponding shift to homogeneous, empty time, the new academic discipline of History became a key tool for nations to define the deep ties that bound their people, specifically by selectively choosing what “to remember/forget”; that is, what to include in and erase from narratives of national identity. 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