independence day

“My point of departure is that nationality, or, as one might prefer to put it in view of that word’s multiple significations, nation-ness, as well as nationalism, are cultural artefacts of a particular kind. To understand them properly we need to consider carefully how they have come into historical being, in what ways their meanings have changed over time, and why, today, they command such profound emotional legitimacy … [T]he creation of these artefacts towards the end of the eighteenth century was the spontaneous distillation of a complex ‘crossing’ of discrete historical forces; but … once created, they became ‘modular,’ capable of being transplanted, with varying degrees of self-consciousness, to a great variety of social terrains, to merge and be merged with a correspondingly wide array of political and ideological constellations. I will also attempt to show why these particular cultural artefacts have aroused such deep attachments” (4).

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso Press, 1991. Revised Edition.

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3 thoughts on “independence day

  1. The word ‘nationality’ always throws me. In the mish-mash of the Soviet Union, ‘nationality’ always meant what Americans would call an ethnic group, I guess. So, Ukrainians, Russians, Jews and various other nationalities lived in the Ukraine. (Jews by blood, not by religion.) I grew up in Moldova, but wasn’t Moldovan; was Russian/Jewish.

  2. Independence Day

    Rather than taxing my heat-cramped brain by attempting to come up with a clever ‘why I’m not posting today’ post, here’s instead a smattering of July 4th postings from blogs around the way: Bill urges sends wishes around the globe and urges an expat pa…

  3. This would, I believe, be an example of the kind of “deep attachment” that Anderson seeks to analyze. His is a very good, very readable (though not flawless) book.

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