Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism” as Want to Read:
Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  8,687 Ratings  ·  411 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 1991 by Verso (first published May 1983)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Imagined Communities, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

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)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
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
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
Dec 17, 2015 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
Sean Chick
Aug 12, 2011 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
Jun 25, 2011 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 13, 2008 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
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
اللغة المحلية، تراجع الدين، تراجع السلطة، الاستعمار، المصلحة، استخدامها كأداة، هذه الأسباب التي كانت وراء نشأة القوميات، التي يدلل لها أندرسن في كتابه الثقيل مضمونًا قليل الصفحات من خلال تحليل أوضاع دول شرق آسيا وأمريكا الأسبانية، وأوروبا بكل تأكيد.

يغيب على أندرسن تحليل القومية العربية، ولم يأت على ذكرها إلا في اقتباس أنقله عنه:"وكان موارنة وأقباط تخرج كثير منهم في الجامعة الأمريكية في بيروت وجامعة القديس يوسف اليسوعية أكبر المساهمين في إحياء الفصحى وانتشار القومية العربية"، وهذا الاقتباس يوضح م
Roy Lotz
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Boy, am I glad to have finally read this. Imagined Communities is the force behind much of the scholarship in the social sciences I find most interesting. Seeing someone’s name so often in brackets (Anderson, 1983) makes you curious, and Anderson does not disappoint.

For me, this is history at its most interesting—incisive, global in scope, entertaining, and not overladen with facts. Staying entirely within the purview and methodology of the discipline of history (unlike, say, Guns, Germs, and St
Jun 17, 2007 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
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-history
Since there has been a good deal of chattering about nationalism of late, it seemed a good time to finally examine this neglected long-term resident on my bookshelves. It is a tough slog through impenetrable Marxist jargon and apparent inside jokes. Also, there are enough dense and eye-strain-inducing footnotes in my paperback copy to send David Foster Wallace weeping to his thesaurus collection. And, in addition to untranslated French and German, there is, I am not making this up, untranslated ...more
Hosam Diab
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
هذا الكتاب استغرق مني وقتا لطويلا لقراءته، يتجاوز الشهر بقليل.

لم تكن صعوبة الكتاب هي سبب تأخير القراءة. ربما لأنني تعرفت إلى لعبة سباق السيارات "إسفلت 8"، فشغلني هذا عنه، أو لأن كل فكرة -رغم بساطة عرضها- تحتاج إلى وقت طويل لهضمها واستيعابها.

بلغت شهرة الكتاب الآفاق، وصار مقررا جامعيا في العديد من الجامعات حول العالم، لذلك أي حديث حول أهمية الكتاب لن تكون مناسبة.

أشير فقط إلى بعض النقاط التي استوقفتني أثناء القراءة:

1- الكتاب ليس نظريا بالمرة، أي رغم أنه يتبنى مفهوما جديدا لأساس القومية وانتشارها، إ
Mohammed Asiri
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
بدأت في قراءة هذا الكتاب وفي ذهني أنه يبحث في سؤال كيف يتم تخيل المجتمعات، أي أنه بحث في الصورة النمطية للشعوب كما درسها إدوارد
سعيد وانطوني موريسون وفرانز فانون أو تسري هناء في الشرق المتخيل او محمد أفاية في الغرب المتخيل.

إلا انني تفاجأت ويا لجمال المفاجأة أنه بحث في نشأة فكرة القومية، ولا شك أن الصورة النمطية مبحث مهم في فكرة نشاة القومية، لأن الصور النمطية لا تقوم على تصوير الآخر المختلف، بل تقوم حتى على تصوير الذات أيضا
فكرة الكتاب الرئيسية هي أن هناك روابط متخيلة (وليست خيالية) تربط بين أفرا
Feb 21, 2014 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
Mar 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
An indispensable canonical book for student of nationalism.
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
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
Feb 24, 2009 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.
Missy J
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it

On December 13, 2015, Indonesia expert and history scholar Benedict Anderson passed away in Malang (Indonesia). A lot of obituaries in his honor appeared in traditional press and online media. When I read his life story, I was very impressed by his study of Indonesia (esp. regarding the 1965 incident, which led to him being banned from entering Indonesia for over 20 years) and his abilities to speak so many languages! His best-known work is Imagined Communities, where he discusses the origins of
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
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
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.
Apr 25, 2007 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.
Hammam Nimrawi
إن الكتابة التي تقول عن أفكار مهمة وذكية بلغة مباشرة وسهلة، بلا تقعر أو تذاك أو بهرجة لغوية، وتصيب هذه الأفكار كما يجب، من دون تقصير أو تسطيح، لكفيلة بعدل مزاجي لأيام. كتاب ممتاز.
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
After making an effort to summarise this book, I am not convinced that I can defend all of its arguments, which on balance must reflect on me rather than the book. Apart from anything else, I am not prepared to put in the time; I write a review quickly when I finish a book only to convey my immediate impression. It is nicely written, very well organised and very credible. I suspect, though, that it presents its arguments in a form that requires a lot of elaboration before they will convince a sc ...more
The introduction is a little scary because Anderson uses an unnecessarily complicated academic lingo, but it gets better afterwards. You'll get a brief account of the rise of nationalism in varied places: from the Americas to Hungary and Indonesia.

His main focus is on nationalism as way of perceiving society and oneself as a member of this society. There are a couple of things necessary to imagine the national community and it became possible only in modern times, with the advance of print-capi
Patraukliu stiliumi parašyta knyga apie nacionalizmo ir apskritai tautos idėjos atsiradimą.
Tais klausimais, kur kažką jau truputį žinojau, atrodė, kad autorius labai supaprastina dalykus. Tais klausimais, kuriais nieko nežinojau, atrodė, pateikia nuostabių įžvalgų. Bet pirmoji sąlyga šiek tiek trukdė žavėtis antrąja.
Kita vertus, imant tokią plačią temą apibendrinimų ir supaprastinimų neišvengsi, o idėja apie tautos sąvokos kūrimąsi įdomi.
Jan 07, 2016 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
Shreedhar Manek
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
My professor promised that this would be an easy read, because of the (apparently) lucid language, but I cannot really claim the same. The myriad of unknown references makes this far from an easy read. Things are just said assuming the reader knows about everything that's being talked about.

Imagined Communities is without doubt a seminal text. Anderson tries to explain the idea of nations and nationalism and lays out various models to do so.

I don't want to say anything more about this, because
Patrick McCoy
Sep 24, 2011 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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Nations and Nationalism
  • The Invention of Tradition
  • The Location of Culture
  • Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World
  • Culture and Imperialism
  • Europe and the People Without History
  • Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference
  • Outline of a Theory of Practice
  • States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China
  • The Country and the City
  • The Interpretation of Cultures
  • Silencing the Past
  • Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography
  • Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed
  • Coercion, Capital, and European States, A.D. 990-1992
  • Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization
  • The Nation & Its Fragments: Colonial & Postcolonial Histories
  • Lineages of the Absolutist State
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
More about Benedict Anderson...

Nonfiction Deals

  • Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival
    $8.24 $1.99
  • A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf
    $27.00 $2.99
  • Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
    $8.99 $1.99
  • A Room of One's Own
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Life in a Medieval City
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Too Close to Me: The Middle-Aged Consequences of Revealing A Child Called "It"
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Inside the Criminal Mind: Revised and Updated Edition
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
    $13.99 $2.99
  • How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Heart of Christianity
    $9.74 $1.99
  • Hidden Figures
    $4.09 $1.99
  • Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man
    $7.24 $1.99
  • Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Decoded
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs: Use Outdoor Clues to Find Your Way, Predict the Weather, Locate Water, Track Animals-and Other Forgotten Skills
    $15.95 $1.99
  • A Man Called Intrepid: The Incredible True Story of the Master Spy Who Helped Win World War II
    $14.99 $1.99
  • K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Kant and the Platypus: Essays on Language and Cognition
    $16.99 $2.99
  • Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Living: The Classical Mannual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Come to the Edge
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Communicating
    $9.49 $2.99
  • American Jezebel
    $8.24 $1.99
“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.” 15 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.” 3 likes
More quotes…