The definitive, bestselling book on the origins of nationalism, and the processes that have shaped it. Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson's brilliant book on nationalism, forged a new field of study when it first appeared in 1983. Since then it has sold over a quarter of a million copies and is widely considered the most important book on the subject. In this greatly anticipated revised edition, Anderson updates and elaborates on the core question: what makes people live and die for nations, as well as hate and kill in their name? Anderson examines the creation and global spread of the 'imagined communities' of nationality, and explores the processes that created these communities: the territorialization of religious faiths, the decline of antique kinship, the interaction between capitalism and print, the development of secular languages-of-state, and changing conceptions of time and space. He shows how an originary nationalism born in the Americas was adopted by popular movements in Europe, by imperialist powers, and by the movements of anti-imperialist resistance in Asia and Africa. In a new afterword, Anderson examines the extraordinary influence of Imagined Communities, and the book's international publication and reception, from the end of the Cold War era to the present day.
The book also shows how critical print and publishing industries were to
I strongly recommend this book to anyone studying history, societies, or cultural change. It is not always an easy read, but once you grasp what Anderson is trying to say, you’ll see elements of his work (or at least, his essential themes) in anything else on society or culture that you read.
(I took a graduate course in Cultural Anthropology on ethnicity and nationalism, where we read a tremendous amount of the current academic thinking on related topics, and I found nearly all of it appallingly bad: in a