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Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,946 Ratings  ·  271 Reviews
What makes people love and die for nations, as well as hate and kill in their name? While many studies have been written on nationalist political movements, the sense of nationality--the personal and cultural feeling of belonging to a nation--has not received proportionate attention. In this widely acclaimed work, Benedict Anderson examines the creation and global spread o ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 17th 1991 by Verso (first published 1983)
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David Even though it is somewhat old, people still use it in the academy (I am using it for my MA thesis and I have friends that are doing the same). Also,…moreEven though it is somewhat old, people still use it in the academy (I am using it for my MA thesis and I have friends that are doing the same). Also, theory in the Humanities works differently than in the Sciences - it is more on how productive a theory in stimulating people to see things in different ways rather than being correct all the time.(less)

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UPDATED: Amazing how reading this for a different class brought out a totally different discussion. The last class I read this for was called "Uses of History in International Affairs," and we spent the majority of our time talking about history as an act- history as narrative, history as an agenda, what someone might use these statements for. We were essentially diplomats in discussion, preparing our strategy of attack against the other side's claims. I don't think we discussed the validity of ...more
أحمد أبازيد Ahmad Abazed
شهرتُه تتكلّمُ عنه أكثر منّي ...
هذا الكتاب أحد أهمّ الكتب التي شغلت علماء الاجتماع و السياسة في العقود الأخيرة رغم أنّه لا يزيد على 200 صفحة .
يقدّم الكتاب نظريّة جديدة في نشوء القوميّة كجماعة متخيّلة , و عوامل و ظروف نشأة هذا التخيّل من الحروب و الأنظمة الكولونياليّة إلى سكّان المتروبولات , و كلّ وسائل ذلك و أدواته من اللغة ( أكثر ما أهمّني في الكتاب ) و الخرائط و التعداد و المتلحف و غير ذلك الكثير , رغم سلاسة اللغة و سهولة الأسلوب ( مقارنة بعمق الفكرة المطروحة طبعا ) فالكتاب يحتاج الكثير من الم
Elena Holmgren
Nov 17, 2015 Elena Holmgren rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever felt that there is something very amiss, strange, and almost unreal about the everyday human perception of reality. This book will shed light on the meaning of that fundamental intuition of “something lacking, something misplaced.” Anderson's book is, first and foremost, an incisive exploration of how humanity's relationship to reality is warped by our allegiance to reified, divisive, limited constructs of the group-mind that nonetheless each c ...more
So the big idea here is that nations are limited and sovereign entities, with power over a limited territory, but also that they are 'imagined', or socially constructed through the print media. This needs no real introduction, and most can get away with only reading the title and subtitle.

Such a thesis no doubt appears quaint to some twenty years later, with electronic media surpassing dead-trees-and-pulp non-fiction. It might be easy to dismiss the whole thing as obsolete, with the wonders of t
Jul 13, 2008 Lauren rated it really liked it
Asserted as a Marxist text, Anderson attempts to revise readings of the development of nationalism in attempt to sort out the possibilities its offers for a Marxist agenda. Most importantly, Anderson defines the nation as 1) sovereign, 2) limited, and 3) fraternal. He sees the nation as a structural form of collective imagination that works to cohere through the rise of print capitalism (specifically mass-marketed news media and novels, but one could easily add photography to this list) and the ...more
Jan 22, 2016 Murtaza rated it it was amazing
One of my longstanding grievances with the public education system is its approach to geography. The jigsaw of nations most children are taught comprise the world is essentially posited as something timeless and ineffable, while in reality are they all very historically recent not to mention ephemeral and in most cases pretty arbitrary.

Benedict Anderson does a great job of deconstructing nationalism (not that hard), but much more importantly rebuilding how national consciousness, "imagined comm
Jul 16, 2011 ·Karen· rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A hugely influential work, first published in 1983, which delineates the 'processes by which the nation came to be imagined, and, once imagined, modelled, adapted and transformed.' Anderson is an expert on Southeast Asia, and thus manages very successfully to avoid a purely Euro-centric view. Another extremely successful aspect of this work is the structure: each chapter ends with a succinct summary of its main ideas, a boon for those who need to take notes and revise what they've read, or indee ...more
Jul 09, 2007 Hamad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Thinkers and Leftists
This is a very important, but difficult read. Even though the author mentions that he did not want to introduce any academic lingo, it is still difficult to comprehend at times, and the academic structure is obvious.

It will truly make you think about history in a novel way once you do understand what is being described. However, the chapter on the Map, Census and Museum was the hardest to comprehend. Of course, the fact that so many themes in the book were hard to understand only goes to show h
Feb 24, 2014 Mohamed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pdf, 2014
اسم الكتاب رائع
مرهق رغم صغر عدد صفحاته
مقدمة لعزمى بشاره محتاجة 3 فنجاين من القهوة ديكتاب لوحدها
نيجي للكتاب الاصلي
اتكلم عن الحواجز اللي تجاوزتهم البشرية علشان توصل للشكل القومي
حاجز الدولة الدينية و الدولة السلالية اخيراً مفهوم وتصور الزمن
بعد كده الكاتب بينتقل لتفسير العوامل
اعظم جزء الخاص باللغة و ازي اللغات بتلعب دور في وهم القومية و دور راس المال المطبوع الصحافة و الكتب
الدولة عبارة عن وهم في دمغنا نتيجة معرفتنا ان في مجموعة من البشر مشتركين معنا في اللغة و الارض
الكتاب مرهق في مصطلحات غريب
ماهرعبد الرحمن
كنت قد كتبت هذا التعليق في 2010، وكنت وقتها اتعمد كتابة تعليقات لا ريفيوهات حتى أتحاشي إن الناس تعمل لايك.. وكنت وقتها أظن أنه ليس هو الموضوع عمل لايك، بل القراءة وتبادل القراءة وفقط.. ولأن دائرة الأصدقاء وقتها كانت محدودة، فكنا نتبادل الأفكار وعروض الكتب وترشيحات القراءة.. كنت أريد أن يكون الأمر فقط على هذا النحو، بدون لايكات.. لكني وجدت أن بعض التعليقات قد ضاعت أو تم مسحها. وأيضا، بعد اتساع دائرة الأصدقاء و اتساع عدد مستخدمي الموقع نفسه وانتشاره.. رأيت أن زرار اللايك اللعين (أينما وُجد) هذا لن ...more
Mar 02, 2008 Chayuth rated it it was amazing
An indispensable canonical book for student of nationalism.
محمود النويشي
الانتشار الواسع للكتاب عالميا وترجمته للكثير من اللغات أمر يدل على أن هذا الموضوع ( القومية ) ما زال يحتاج إلى الداراسة من قبل المفكرين ، ويدل على أن نهم المعرفة حول الأمر كبير ، وهو أمر يستحق

فى مقدمة الكتاب تقديم عربى يعتبر كتابا مستقلا مميزا لا يمكن تجاهله كجزء نم المؤلف

يشرح المترجم سبب تسمية الكتاب بالجاماعت المتخيلة

يتحدث عن الجماعات الإثنية وكيف تنشأ عنها القوميات

يناقش الكتاب قضية القومية وما اذا كانت ظاهرة أم أيدولوجيا

يتحدث الكتاب فى قسط كبير منه عن اللغة ودورها فى منشأ القوميات وتدعيمها و
Sean Chick
Jan 30, 2012 Sean Chick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Anderson has a good point about how language and the collapse of religious absolutism created nationalism but he fails on two points. First his language is haughty and over the top, including references to obscure stuff. I got most of them but others will be lost. Second he fails to elaborate on other things that caused nationalism to rise, such as technology, revolution, ideology, and warfare. Instead it is mostly presented as a matter of language and media. Also whenever he steps out of the la ...more
Apr 26, 2007 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of history and theory
Shelves: critical, philosophy
Argues clearly and poetically that identities are constructed through shared media. Examines how newspapers and other media create a shared identity with people never met.

Pros: Excellent writing, clear argument, and historical evidence (almost exclusively) from the Spanish-speaking world.
What makes this text well worth reading are his intriguing examples and the methodical way he develops his highly original yet relatively straight forward argument. What I found particularly useful were his marxist explanation for how print capital helped create conditions for a nation as an imagined community, his exposition of the fact that nationalism developed in the Americas before Europe, and the wonderful way he shows how colonial administration and education sowed the seeds of rebellion ...more
Doris Pandžić
Jan 09, 2016 Doris Pandžić rated it it was amazing
Fantastičan osvrt na povijesnu uvjetovanost nastanka nacija i kritika nacionalizma kao društvene pojave.
Oct 03, 2007 Gina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those into theories of nationalism
Shelves: dissndat
My friend saw this book on my desk and said, "Oh! that is such OLD news!" ehem...
Ben Anderson's book has influenced an entire generation of critics of nations and nationalisms. The book reads well (I enjoy the obvious pleasure with which he writes) and is still fresh to new readers like me. I enjoy his ability to position his work in friendly opposition to other scholars of nationalism

My favorite notion is by far that of "bourgeois aristocracy" in the colonies.

It's easy to navigate the book to f
Jan 07, 2016 Moataz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
كتاب يستحق شهرته، بما يضيفه من تحليل ومعلومات في سبيل فهم ظاهرة القومية..

يبدأ الكتاب بمقدمة رائعة لعزمي بشارة، تعتبر كتاب منفصل إذا جاز التعبير، فيها يثني عليه، ثم ينعطف إلى نقد قوي لبعض ما ورد في الكتاب، ويتركز في أمرين، قصور الكتاب في تناول الظاهرة عربياً، وأيضاً عدم تفرقته بوضوح بين الإيديولوجيا القومية والقومية.

متن الكتاب يُستهل بنقد لكلا التصورين الرائجين عن القومية، اليساري الذي يراها آفة العصر الحديث، والقومي الذي يزعم أنها موغلة في القدم.. ففي هذا الصدد يبرهن بندكت أندرسون على أن الإنتما
Sep 25, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it
As someone who has studied American history almost exclusively, I found Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism by Benedict Anderson to be a refreshing and highly readable look at the cultural origins of, and theoretical explanations for, the rise of nationalism. Though often referencing histories and cultures with which I am unfamiliar, Anderson does a nice job of explaining their relevance to the overall theory he is trying to explain, in a way that doesn’t re ...more
Vip Vinyaratn
Mar 11, 2008 Vip Vinyaratn rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: social science/history/philosophy student
Shelves: unfinished
Ben Anderson is one of the most cited and recited scholars in almost every department in my university. 'Imagined Communities' is a "must-read" for history and social science students, espeacially those who are interested in, and desire to comprehend the world after 20th century that is being shaped by, a metaphysical entities called Nation.
A very impressive work on both a research and theoretical level. The syntheses that Anderson generates manage to cut through hundreds of years of history and thousands of miles of geography to create a cohesive, cogent approach that, fairly uniquely among works of this sort, manages to privilege neither time nor space. Well done.
Feb 24, 2009 Ross rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely an 'essential read', but did his style have to be so annoying? "Unjungled," Benedict? "Museumized?" Those aren't words. Not cute, either. Stop with the scare quotes, too, jeez. And would you translate your goddamn lengthy French quotations??? GOD.
Vaiva Sapetkaitė
Štai, ir vėl JAV knyga. Vis dėlto JAV mokslininko (beje, gimusio Kinijoje). Benedict Anderson dėka sužinojau daug visokių dalykų apie tokias man egzotiškas tautas kaip filipieniečiai, indoneziečiai, vietnamiečiai etc.

B.Anderson priklauso modernistinei nacionalizmo mokyklai (kartu su Ernest Gellner, Eric Hobsbawm ir kt.), nes jis tautas ir nacionalizmą laiko šiuolaikiniu produktu, susiformavisiu ekonominiams ir politiniams tikslams pasiekti. Modernistinė nacionalizmo aiškinimo mokykla oponuoja an
Mariana Romo-Carmona
This books deserves 5 stars for the theory it proposes, one that revolutionized thinking about the origins of national identity-- but the writing makes arduous reading. Anderson makes the reader scale up, down, and around the peaks of his logic-- which is brilliant, no doubt--- but it takes away from the enjoyment that could be that moment of clear understanding when we can follow an author through through fascinating ideas that make the top of your scalp itch!

Nevertheless, the ideas behind his
As the original text on nationalism as an idea, you would think that this would be a better read. Indeed, the plethora of translations that the author catalogs in the Afterword written for this expanded edition, you would think it would be best thing on nationalism ever. And while it does have a few great ideas, it is a barely developed, almost completely nonsensical book. The first few chapters start out alright as he identifies native languages, bueracratic language requirements, and revolutio ...more
Apr 13, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Students of politics, history, economics
Recommended to Michael by: Professor David Johnson
This book puts forth a simple thesis: that nations exist only in the minds of those who comprise them. It suggests that certain developments of modern culture (such as printed news, censuses, and colonialism) led to an awakening of "national consciousness" in the population, beyond merely the ruling class who traditionally had a stake in patriotic identity, and thus helped to consolidate the power of the State. Breaking from previous accounts, he sees nationalism as first developing among "creol ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mazidah Mohamad
Oct 31, 2010 Mazidah Mohamad rated it really liked it
Shelves: academic-books
Mike told me I dont have to read a book from its front to back, I just have to read those chapters I find interesting and relevant to my research/interests. The rest of the chapters might not be relevant to the reader altogether. I did just that. Ive only read Introduction, Cultural Roots and the Origin of Nation Consciousness. These 3 chapters are enough for me to get the gist of Anderson's Imagined Communities. All communities are imagined. He conceptualised this based on the knowledge that we ...more
Jun 27, 2011 Franditya rated it liked it
Benedict Anderson dalam “Imagined Communities” atau “Komunitas-Komunitas Terbayang”, mencoba menelusuri asal-usul bangsa dalam narasi sejarah peradaban Eropa mulai abad ke-15. Menurutnya, kebangkitan kapitalisme cetak yang dipicu oleh gerakan reformasi gereja, telah menumbuhkan sebuah komunitas masyarakat Eropa baru. Jika sebelumnya bahasa Latin nyaris memonopoli pengetahuan dan peradaban, setelah kitab suci berhasil diterjemahkan ke dalam bahasa Jerman, maka semakin teranglah jalan pencarian id ...more
Patrick McCoy
Nov 14, 2011 Patrick McCoy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I first heard about Benedict Anderson's seminal study of nationalism, Imagined Communities, from a newspaper article in The Bangkok Post while on vacation in Thailand a few years back. It's not such an unlikely place to hear about Anderson since it turns out that he is somewhat of an expert on SE Asian countries. It seems that he has made his name studying Indonesia, but he has also published widely on Thailand and the Philippines including the intriguing title, In the Mirror: Literature and Pol ...more
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Benedict Richard O'Gorman Anderson is Aaron L. Binenkorb Professor Emeritus of International Studies, Government & Asian Studies at Cornell University, and is best known for his celebrated book Imagined Communities, first published in 1983. Anderson was born in Kunming, China, to James O'Gorman Anderson and Veronica Beatrice Bigham, and in 1941 the family moved to California. In 1957, Anderson ...more
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“the fellow members of even the smallese nation will never know most of their fellow members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of the communion...Communities are to be distinguished, not by their falsity or genuineness, but in the style in which they are imagined.” 9 likes
“It is nice that what eventually became the late British Empire has not been ruled by an 'English' dynasty since the early eleventh century: since then a motley parade of Normans (Plantagenets), Welsh (Tudors), Scots (Stuarts), Dutch (House of Orange) and Germans (Hanoverians) have squatted on the imperial throne. No one much cared until the philological revolution and a paroxysm of English nationalism in World War I. House of Windsor rhymes with House of Schönbrunn or House of Versailes.” 1 likes
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