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M E RC H I S TO N P U B L I S H I N G 2007

M E RC H I S TO N P U B L I S H I N G

S c otti sh Centre f or th e B o o k ,

Nap i er Un i ver si t y, Cra i g h ous e Camp us ,

E d in burg h , E H 10 5 L G

Pro ducti on Dire ctor : Melan i e R amdar s han

First p ub l i sh e d 20 07

C opyri g ht © the Contri b utors 200 7

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I S B N: 97 8-0 -9 55 356 1- 1- 7

Printe d and b o und in Great Bri ta in by Pa g e Bros , Nor wi c h

C O N T E N TS

Pre f ac e

“Can su c h G o o d ne ss b e pro fitab l y d is carde d ?” B ene d i c t An der son an d th e Po l iti c s o f Nationa l i sm Ho ward Wollm a n a n d Ph il ip S pe nce r

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B ene d i ct Anders on's Fi c tiona l Commun itie s Cai r ns Cra ig

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G h ostl y Nationa l Ima g in ing s : B en e d ic t An d erson and th e G o th i c Car to g rap hy o f G re at Bri ta in B e nj amin A Brab on

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Pre ss, Par ti tion an d Fam in e : B ene d i ct And ers on an d th e B eng a l Em erg enc y o f 1 90 5- 6 R obe r t Fra s e r

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Notes on C ontributor s

“ C a n s u c h G o o d n e s s b e p r o f i t a b l y d i s c a r d e d ? ” B ene d i c t A nd er s on a nd the Pol itics o f Nationa l ism

H owa rd Wo l l ma n a n d P hi l i p S p en c e r

I ntrod uc t i on

1 9 8 3 wa s som e th ing of an annus m ira b i l i s in th e m o dern stu d y o f nati ona l i sm .

Thre e work s app e are d that were to have si g n i f i cant inf lu enc e in th e Eng l i s h sp e a king world an d b e yon d . Th e f irst wa s Nati on s and Nati onal i sm by th e pro l i f i c so c i o lo g i st Erne st G e l l ner ; 1 th e se c ond wa s The Inve ntion of Tra dition, a c o l le ction o f e ss ays c o - e d ite d by the Mar x i st h i stori an Eri c Ho b sb awm an d Terenc e R ang er ; 2 th e th ird wa s B en e d i c t And erson’s Im ag i ned Comm uniti es. 3 G e l l n er ’s b o o k p ursue d s om e o f the i ssue s h e ha d ra i s e d in h is 19 6 5 vo lume Tho ught and Chang e and c onso l i date d h i s rep utati on a s on e o f th e forem o st of th e “mo dern i sts” in de ve l op ing a ro bust p er sp e cti ve that to o k ma j or i ssu e wi th cla ims that nati ons were o f an ci ent pro venanc e , de ep ly ro o te d in th e p a st . 4 Ho bsb awm and R ang er ’s work a lth o ug h n ot e xclusi ve ly ab o ut nati ona l i sm , g ave f ur ther wei g ht to the arg ument that th e nati on, i ts ri tua l s and c erem on ies were prof o und l y an d ind i sputa b l y a mo d ern p h enomen on, a cu ltura l pro du ct who s e h istor y ne e de d to b e cri ti ca l l y and s e vere ly interro g ate d . Anderson’s Im ag i ned Comm uniti es ha s, howe ver, b e en p erhap s th e m ost influenti a l o f th e s e thre e work s, provi d ing a who le se t o f n e w d ire cti ons for th e stud y o f nationa l i sm . Th i s wa s in s ome way s qu i te surpri sing . Un l i ke G el l ner ’s work at l e a st , i t s e eme d to c om e o ut of th e b lu e ; th e work o f a s cho lar wh o ha d n ot pre vi o us l y c ontri b ute d to g enera l p o l i ti ca l or c u ltura l th e or y or to th e fi e l d of nationa l i sm . An ders on’s b a ck g round wa s in non e o f th ese area s – h e wa s a sp e ci a l i st ( no t that we l l-known) in S o uth E a st A si an stu d i es p ar ti cu larl y of In done si a , b ut a ls o o f th e Ph il ipp ines . At th e p o int i t wa s p u b l i s he d by Ver s o (f orma l l y Ne w L ef t B o o k s) i t wa s h i s bro ther Perr y who wa s f ar b etter kn own, c e r t a i n l y i n t h e U K , a s a l e a d i n g Ne w L e f t Ma r x i s t i n t e l l e c t u a l o f a n unf a sh i onab l y wi de -rang ing s or t , th e e d itor of th e inf lu enti a l Ne w L e ft Re vi e w and the le a d ing fi g ure in i ts pu b l i sh ing arm . Imag i ned Comm unities ha s b e en extraord inari l y suc c e ssf u l an d on e o f th e mo st ( if n ot the mo st) inf lu enti a l b o o k s in th e c ontemp orar y l i terature on nati ona l ism . It ha s s o l d o ver a quar ter o f a m i l l i on c op i es and ha s just app eare d in a th ird e d i ti on wi th a ne w fina l chap ter. And er son’s de fin i ti on o f the nati on a s an “ima g ine d c ommun i t y ” ha s b e c ome on e o f th e m ost quote d an d pro b a b l y over- quote d p hra s e s by b o th stud ents and sc h o lar s a l i ke. Cite d by a lmo st e ver y writer who venture s onto th e terra in o f nati ona l i sm, i t ha s b e c om e one of the c ommon e st c l i c hé s of the l iterature . Th i s i s no t to sug g est that th e c onc ep t ( an d

T H E I N FLU E N C E O F B E N E D I C T A N D E R S O N

the f u l l de fin i ti on f rom wh i ch i t i s ta ken) i s wi th out va lue . Q u i te th e c ontrar y. But i ts invo cation ha s , in some ca s es, b e c om e a su bsti tute f or ana ly si s . 5

C l o s e r s c r uti ny r e v e a l s a num b e r o f p r o b l e m s w i th th e t e rm a n d i t s

d ep l oyment, a set o f p ara doxes ( p erhaps e ven c ontra d i cti ons ) that are th e fo c us o f th is c hap ter. S ome of th ese p aradoxes or c ontra d i c ti ons have th e ir ro ots, we

m i g ht sug g e st, in And erson’s formati on, p er s ona l l y, p o l i ti ca l l y an d aca d em i ca l l y.

W i th o ut se e king to re duc e an exp lanati on to th e m ere ly b i o g rap h i ca l , there are

imp or tant re sp e c ts in wh i ch f actors at th i s l e vel pro vid e an e ss enti a l c ontext for the cri ti ca l d i scussi on of h i s work .

B en e d i ct R i ch ard O ’ G o rm a n An de r s o n – c os m o pol i t a n, a n t i-

i m p e r i al i s t and l on g d i s t a n c e na t io n a li s t ?

Anderson wa s b orn B ene d i ct R i chard O’G orman And er son Aug ust 2 6, 1 93 6 in Kunm ing , Ch ina . He wa s th e pro duct o f an Eng l is h m oth er – Veron i ca B e atri c e Mar y And ers on – an d a f ath er of m i xe d Iri sh and Ang lo -Iri sh p arenta g e – Jam es Care w O’G orman And erson . “James wa s an offi c er in th e Ch in es e Mari tim e Customs S er vi c e in Ch ina and ac c ord ing to h i s son, a S inop h i l e ; h e wa s a l s o of m i xe d Iri sh and Ang l o -Iri sh desc ent, an d h i s f am i ly had b e en a cti ve in Iri s h nati ona l i sti c mo vements . Veron i ca wa s Eng l is h, and cam e f rom a f am i l y of

c o nv e n t i o n a l b u s i n e s s m e n , j u d g e s a n d p o l i c e m e n .” 6 Fo l l o w i n g a n e a r l y

up

bring ing in Ch ina and Eng land th e f am i ly m o ve d to th e US A in 1 9 4 1 , th en

to

Ire land .

In an inter vi e w, B ene d i c t’s bro th er Perr y re ve a l s more a b o ut the f am i l y b ac k g ro und and circumstanc es :

It wa s a ver y c o sm op o l i tan ho use ho ld ; I supp o se that wo u l d b e the d e c i s i ve

th ing . Af ter th e Ameri can exp eri enc e, the f am i l y went b a ck to Irelan d , and

then I wa s sent to sch o o l in Eng land . And then, y ou kn ow, we were s ent

a bro a d . S o f rom a ver y earl y a g e, I g ot a sens e of th e imp or tanc e o f oth er

cu lture s and oth er nati ons . 7

And er son h imself se ems aware of th e influenc e th i s up bring ing on th e mar g ins o f vari ous c u lture s and c ountri es ha s had on h i s su b j e ct matter an d on h i s

p ersp e c ti ves on nationa l i sm . 8 He re vea l ing l y descri b es th e s e e xp eri en c e s a s an outsid er a s a “seri es o f estrang ements” and e ven a s “vari o us e x i le s” :

A s I lo o k b a ck at i t now i t se ems an o dd b o o k to b e wri tten by some on e

b orn in Ch ina , ra i se d in thre e c o untri es , sp ea king wi th an o b s o le te Eng l i s h a c c ent, carr ying an Iri sh p a ssp or t, l i ving in Am eri ca , an d d e vote d to S o uth e a st Asi a . Yet p erhaps i t c ou l d on l y b e written from vari o us ex i l es , an d wi th d i vid e d l oya lti es . 9

What th en , sp e c i f i ca l ly, turne d B ene d i c t Ander son to stu dy ing nati ona l i sm ? It

wa s an in d ire c t route that to o k h im th ere via C orne l l an d Ind ones i a . Hi s

a cad em i c b a ck g round wa s in i ti a l l y a s a cla ss i c ist wi th a d e g re e f rom Cambri d g e

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“C an such G o od n ess b e p rof i ta bl y d i s ca rd ed ? ” B en ed ic t An d ers on a n d th e Po l i ti cs o f N a ti o nal is m

in 1 9 57 , when he ha d h i s f irst enc ounter s wi th anti -imp eri a l i st p o l i ti cs . Hi s e arl y

p o l i ti c s wa s f orm e d in th e wa ke o f th e Su e z d e b a c l e , 1 0 an d h i s p o l i ti ca l s ymp ath ie s, and p ers ona l b a ck g round in As i a , m o ve d h im to an intere st in Ind on e si a wh ic h wa s th en in the m i d st of a murd erous c i vi l war wi th a c ti ve C I A invo lvement. ( “ To a young man on ly re c entl y ma de aware o f p o l iti c s – on e m i g ht say imp eri a l i st p o l itic s – Indonesi a se eme d b oth As i an an d o f imm e d i ate

p o l i t i c a l r e l e v a n c e .” 1 1 ) It w a s n o w t h a t h e e n t e r e d t h e i n t e r d i s c i p l i n a r y In don e si an Stud i e s Pro g ramm e at Corne l l Un i ver si t y and em b arke d on a l i f etime of sc ho lar s h ip and re se arc h into th e h i stor y, p o l i ti c s an d cu lture o f that

c o untr y.

The In don es ia of the 1 960 s and b ef ore resonate d wi th a p o l i ti cs o f l e f t nati o na l i sm a n d a nti -imp eri a l i sm . An d er s o n h ims e l f ha s p o inte d o ut th e

imp or tanc e of th e p o l i ti ca l m i l i eu o f th e 1 96 0s by wh i ch h e wa s influ enc e d , in

p ar ticu lar the attra c ti ons o f th ird world nati ona l i sm : “In th e C o ld War c onte xt , Th ird Worl d nati ona l i sm l o o ke d ver y attra cti ve, and mo st o f my a g e -mate s in

a ca dem i a were ver y s ymp ath eti c …” 12 And er son ci te s f i g ures such a s Nehr u ,

Nkr uma h, Ho Ch i Min h and Ti to a s ke y f i g ures in an a g e of a d m ire d nationa l i st

le ader s . And leaving f or Indones i a at th e a g e o f 26, h e enc o untere d an o th er of

the se – Su k arno , whos e over throw by G en era l Su har to wa s to s e e h im exi l e d f rom Indon e s ia f or many d e cad es . But th ere wa s a l so more in And erson’s b ack g roun d that m ig ht have pro du c e d

a s ymp athy for an d interest in nati ona l i sm . He pro ud ly re lates that “one s i d e of

my f ather ’s anc e str y … wa s a l in e o f Iri sh nati ona l i sts g o ing b a ck to the la st ye ar s

o f the 1 8th c entur y.” 13 And ind e e d th i s nati ona l i st provenan c e i s impress i ve.

Two anc estors were p ar t o f th e 1 79 8 Un i te d Iri shm en R e b el l i on an d later were

clo se a i des o f Dan i e l O’Conne l l in th e m ovem ent f or Cath o l i c Eman cip ati on ; in th e n e xt g enerati on one wa s invo lve d in th e 18 48 Yo ung Irelan d reb e l l i on ; an d in the th ird g en erati on – t wo were m emb er s o f Parne l l’s b lo c o f Hom e R u l e M Ps

a t We s t m i n s t e r. In d e e d B e n e d i c t A n d e r s o n w a s n a m e d a f t e r R i c h a r d O’G orman, the l ea d ing l i g ht o f th e Young Ire lan der m ovem ent . 14 It i s the Iri s h p ar t o f h i s anc estr y that se ems to have l ef t th e g reatest mark on Anderson . Hi s atti tud e to Eng land i s at b e st am b i g u o us , at time s b ord ering on

d i sta ste . ( He tel l ing ly re c o unts a stor y o f Cam bri d g e under g ra duates b e ating up

a sma l l g ath ering of ma in l y th ird worl d stud ents d em onstrating a g a inst th e Sue z venture and tr y ing to f orc e e ver yone to sing th e nati ona l anthem . ) An d i t wa s Ire lan d that provi de d th e essenti a l c ondu i t into a bro ader s ymp athy for anti -

c o lon i a l nati ona l i st m ovem ents :

In those g re at times , V i e tnam and Indon es i a cam e to g eth er for m e in a n e w way. B o th c o untri e s ha d f oug ht b lo o dy, and up to a p o int su c c e ssf u l , war s f or in dep en denc e a g a inst f ad ing Europ ean imp eri a l i st p ower s …

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T H E I N FLU E N C E O F B E N E D I C T A N D E R S O N

The l in k wa s nati ona l i sm , and pro b ab l y de ep er d own , Ire lan d . Ireland wa s e xemp lar y in i ts long , sava g e str ug g l e for auton omy f rom th e m o st p owerf u l imp eri a l i st state o f th e pre -World War I I era , in its extra ord inar y l i terature , i ts f ratri ci de s, i ts self a bs or pti on, an d i ts e c on om i c invo luti on . One c ou l d , in th o se day s, f u l ly re c o g n i ze a l l th is, an d sti l l strong ly fe e l : ‘S he ha s a ri g ht to b e what sh e i s .’ S o wi th Ind on esia an d V i e tnam . Perhap s i t wa s o ut of an inver te d Ori enta l ism , but my s ymp ath i es , l i ke thos e o f many of my fe l l ow S o uth ea st A s ian i sts, were th en strong l y wi th the nati ona l i sms of th e re g i on . V i etnam e se h ero i sm in th e f a c e of the Ameri can fire storm , wh i ch I saw a s a nati ona l i st m ore than a s o c i a l i st h ero i sm, l in ke d i tself to In donesi a’s f ate. 15 Of c our se any b i o g rap h i ca l narrati ve i s ne c essari l y se le c ti ve. We m i g ht app l y R enan’s stri c tures ab out th e nation to th e auto -b i o g rap h i ca l ac c ounts o f b o th B en an d Perr y. “ Forg etting , I wou ld e ven g o so f ar a s to say h i stori ca l error, is a cr u ci a l f ac tor in th e creati on of a nati on .” 1 6 And so i t i s to o p erhap s in the cre ati on o f p ersona l i d enti t y. B ene d i ct An der son’s own a c c o unt of h i s p er sona l , p o l i ti ca l an d intel l e ctua l traj e c tor y may pro vi de a m ore s eam l ess and smo o th pro g re ssi on than m ig ht actua l l y have b e en the ca se. But if th e j o urn e y s e ems smo o th in h in dsi g ht , th ere i s no d oubt that the p ub l i cati on o f Im ag i ned Comm uniti es transf orm e d the terra in of nati ona l i sm stud i es and catap u lte d And erson to a mu ch wi der internati ona l f am e . But i t i s a f am e, we want to sug g e st h ere , that h id es and p erhaps rests on a num b er o f p ara d oxes in h ow the work ha s b e en re c e i ve d , inter prete d and appropri ate d .

P a rad ox One – The Pol it ic a l Sc i e n t i s t a n d t h e Lit e ra r y Sc h ol ar The fir st of the se ha s to do wi th one of th e b o o k ’s mo st attra cti ve features , i ts e xtra ord inar y h i stori ca l , g e o g rap h i ca l and d i s cip l inar y brea dth . Th i s wa s in many way s a c onsi derab l e p ersona l a ch i e vem ent and p erhap s th e p ara d ox h ere i s m o r e a p p a r e n t t h a n r e a l . A s c h o l a r w i t h a b a c k g r o u n d i n p o l i t i c a l s c i en c e / m o d ern h i stor y ( h i s 1 9 6 7 th e s i s [ in G o vernm ent ] wa s e ventua l l y p u b l i s h e d in 1 9 7 2 a s “ Java in a Tim e o f R e vo luti on – O c c up ati on an d R esi stan c e 1 9 44 -19 46 ”) now pro duc e d a work wh os e inf lu enc e wa s to sprea d f ar and wi de , n otab l y into th e f i el d s o f cu ltura l an d l i terar y stu d i es . And erson wa s a b l e to app ea l to su ch sch o lar s b e caus e h e p ut lang ua g e an d l i terature at th e c entre o f h i s exp lanati on of th e em er g en c e of nati ona l i sm , a m o d ern p henomen on wh i ch ha d to b e und er sto o d in cu ltura l terms , a s a pro du c t of a p ar ti cu lar way of ima g in ing the worl d a s ma d e up of d i s cre te c ommun i ti e s . “ Th e nati on i s … ima g ine d b e cause th e m em b er s of e ven the sma l le st nati on wi l l ne ver know m ost o f h i s f e l low m emb er s , m e e t th em or e ven h ear o f th em, y et in th e m ind of e ach l ives th e ima g e o f th eir c ommun i on .” 17 W ha t ma d e s u c h i ma g i n i n g p o s s i b l e w a s a p a r ti c u l a r t e c hn o l o g i c a l a n d

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“C an such G o od n ess b e p rof i ta bl y d i s ca rd ed ? ” B en ed ic t An d ers on a n d th e Po l i ti cs o f N a ti o nal is m

e c onom i c de ve l opment, what h e ca l le d “print cap i ta l i sm ,” and th e pro du c ti on in verna c u lar lang ua g e s of, among st o th er th ing s, ne w sp ap er s that c o u ld b e re a d a cross a c onsi dera b l e e xp ans e of sp ac e . It wa s th e esta b l i s hm ent o f th es e lang ua g e s wh i ch wa s f undam enta l in esta b l i sh ing “nati ona l c ons ci o usn ess” and it wa s l i terature pro duc e d in th e se lang ua g es wh i c h pro vi d e d many of h i s il lustrati ons o f h ow nati ona l c ommun iti es were ima g ine d . Lang ua g e i s c entra l to nati ona l ist c ons c i o usn ess n ot a s h e puts i t a s “e mbl e ms of nati on-ne ss , l i ke fla g s , c o stum e s , f o l k- dan c e s an d th e re st ,” b ut rath er, b e caus e “mu c h th e m o st i m p o r t a n t t h i n g a b o ut l a n g u a g e i s i t s c a p a c i t y f o r g e n e r a t i n g i m a g i n e d c ommun iti es , b u i ld ing in ef f e c t parti c ul ar soli d ar iti es.” 18 And erson wa s ab l e to ma ke such ref erenc es to lang ua g e an d l i terature, and more bro a d l y to c u ltura l d e ve lopments, pre ci sel y one m i g ht sug g e st b e caus e of h is a ca dem i c f ormati on . Moving f rom a de g re e in c la ssi c s to a p o l i ti c s p ost in th e interd i scip l inar y world o f the Indone s ian Stu d i es Pro g ramme at Corn el l , h e had de ve l op e d p ar ti c u lar intere sts in (esp e c i a l ly Javanese ) l i terature an d c u lture an d op ene d h ims elf up to a rang e of ri ch and d i ver se influenc es , inclu d ing fi g ure s suc h a s Cla ire Ho lt , an exp er t on Ind on es i an dan c e wh o ha d b e en a res earc h a ssistant to Marg are t Mea d . He c ou l d app ear th en a s s om e one wh o wa s vari o usl y an anthrop o lo g i st , a h i stori an, a l i terar y s ch o lar a s wel l a s (and p erhap s more so than) a p o l i tica l sci enti st . But th i s mu ltip le app e a l may have c om e at a pri c e . In b e c om ing , pre c i sely b e cause o f h i s mu lti -f ac ete d formati on and appro a c h , such a p er va si ve inf luenc e a cross a rang e of d i s cip l ines, h e ran the ri sk o f b eing less than f u l l y p er sua s i ve in any or ea c h of the p ar ti cu lar cla ims h e ma de .

P a rad o x Tw o: A n i n fl ue n t i a l ge n e r a l i s e r b u t wro n g i n i m p or t a n t de t ail Ta ke f or instan c e on e of h i s m o st ori g ina l ar g um ents , that i t wa s n o t Europ e wh i c h wa s the c entre o f ori g in of mo dern nati ona l i sm b ut L atin Ameri ca . Th e the si s, in p ar ti c u lar, that i t wa s cre o le el i tes wh o were th e “p i on e er s” of nati ona l ism ha s b e en h eavil y cri ti ci se d by h i stori ans o f Latin Am eri ca a s b e ing inac c urate on mo st p o ints o f d eta i l . As Jo hn Charles Cha ste en p uts it ( in h i s intro du cti on to the c o l l e cti on p ub l i sh e d f rom a c onferenc e of h i stori ans and cu ltura l stu d i es sp e ci a l i sts to d i scuss th e re le vanc e of And er son’s work to L atin Ameri ca ), “An ders on’s prem i se that a nati ona l c onsc i ousness pre c e d e d the war s of in dep endenc e and def in e d th e b o un dari e s o f the resu lting in d ep en d ent repub l i c s i s entirel y at vari anc e wi th th e c ons ensus of L atin Am eri can h i stori ans and cri tics .” 19 Inde e d , h e cla ims, contra And er son, that i t wa s n o t unti l th e 2 0 th c entur y that ma ss p o l i ti ca l p ar ti cip ati on ma de for th e p o ssi b i l i t y o f ima g ine d c ommun i ti es among larg e num b ers of Latin Am eri cans . Mi l l er to o , sur ve ying a wi de rang e o f stud i es o f Latin Ameri can nati ona l i sm, ha s a l s o cri ti c i s e d h i s

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T H E I N FLU E N C E O F B E N E D I C T A N D E R S O N

c la ims a b o ut the si g n i f i canc e in pra cti c e of print cap i ta l i sm in th i s earl y p eri o d . A r g u i n g a b o u t t h e w e a k n e s s e s o f b o t h t h e t r e a t m e n t o f e a r l y- c o l o n i a l n e w s p a p e r s a n d t h e r o l e o f n o v e l s i n c r e a t i n g c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f e m p t y, h omo g en e o us tim e, s h e sug g ests that “a s a causati ve exp lanation, An d er s on’s arg um ent d o e s n ot wi thstand c lo s e ex am inati on .” 20 S i m i l a r p ro b l em s a ri s e w h en w e l o o k at An d er s o n’s d i s c uss i o n o f th e re lati ons h ip b e t we en re l i g i on an d nati ona l i sm , ano ther c entra l p lan k in h i s arg ument. Th e nati on, he arg ues f amously, “is ima g ine d a s a c ommun it y, b e cause , re g ard l ess o f th e a ctua l in e qua l i t y and exp lo i tati on that may pre va i l in e ac h, [ i t] i s a lway s c onc ei ve d a s a d e ep, h ori z onta l c omrad es h ip. Ultimate l y i t i s th i s fratern i t y that ma kes i t p ossi b le , over th e p a st t wo c enturi es, for s o many m il l i ons o f p e op l e, not s o mu ch to kil l , a s wi l l ing ly to d i e f or suc h l im i te d ima g in ing s .” 21 Th e y are l im i te d “ b e cause e ven the larg est o f th em en c omp a ss ing p erhap s a b i l l i on l i ving human b e ing s, ha s f in i te , i f ela sti c b o un dari es , b e yond wh ic h l i e o th er nations . No nati on ima g in e s i ts e lf c o term in ous wi th man kin d . The mo st m e ssi an i c nationa l i sts do n ot d ream o f a day when a l l the m em b er s of the human rac e wi l l j o in th eir nati on in the way that i t wa s p oss i b l e, in c er ta in ep o chs, for, say, Chri sti ans to d ream of a who l ly Chri sti an p lanet .” 22 But i t i s th i s ver y d i fferenc e wh i ch p o ints the way to an e xp lanati on . Nati ona l i sm, he sug g ests, ha s to b e c onc ei ve d o f ( in p ar t ) a s an a lternative to re l ig i on . It i s nati ona l i sm that se ems to pro vi d e the ans wer s to th e b i g que sti ons onc e the inf lu enc e o f rel i g i on star ts to wane . ( Why are we h ere ? How d i d we c om e to b e h ere ? Wh ere i s i t a l l l ea d ing ?) A g a in th i s i s a ver y app e a l ing l ine of ar g um ent . It s h ows a re a l c onc ern wi th que sti ons around su b j e ct f ormati on and i denti t y that were o th er wis e a s ke d on l y by author s m ore l in ke d to prim ord i a l appro a ch e s, or by anti -mo d ern i sts suc h a s Anthony Sm i th who provi de ver y d i f ferent ans wer s . It a d d re ss es f un dam enta l que stions a b out why nati ona l i sm and nati ona l i denti t y have su ch a p ower f u l app e a l , how th e y ma ke em o ti ona l app ea ls to p e op le to s a cri f i c e themse lves for th e c ommun i t y so ima g in e d , app ea l s that h e ar g ue s are c entra l to nati ona l l oya lti es in prac ti c e . Th is c onc ern wi th th e a ffe cti ve a sp e c ts of nati ona l i sm i s unusua l among mo dern i sts . 2 3 But b o th th e c on c ern and th e exp lanati on are op en to questi on . R ath er than nati ona l i sm b eing a suc c essor to rel i g i on, a s Ander s on ar g ue s , many m o d ern nati ona l i sms have sure ly inc or p orate d rel i g i on, n ot rep la c e d i t . Irish nati ona l i sm c onta ins a heav y do se of Cath o l i ci sm , wh i l st Cro ati an nati ona l ism ha s of ten a sser te d a c l os e l in k b et we en th e Cro at nation and the Cath o l i c Churc h . Its n em esi s an d homo l o g ue, S erb i an nati ona l i sm , f or i ts p ar t ha s long he l d a sp e c i a l p lac e for Or tho dox Chri sti ans , wh i lst many Cro ati an an d S er b i an nati ona l i sts have on ly re c entl y made i t forc i b l y cle ar that th ere wa s n o p la c e in ei th er “G reater Cro ati a” or “Greater S er b i a” f or Musl ims . It i s hard to th in k a b o ut

6

“C an such G o od n ess b e p rof i ta bl y d i s ca rd ed ? ” B en ed ic t An d ers on a n d th e Po l i ti cs o f N a ti o nal is m

Russi an nati ona l i sm , c er ta in ly in Tsari st tim es ( a p erio d and ca se And er s on

h imse lf use s a s an e x amp l e of what he ca l ls “o f fi c i a l nati ona l i sm” ) wi th o ut ref eren c e to th e Russ i an Or th o dox Churc h . Nor can th i s p h en om en on b e

c onf ine d to Chri sti an it y. Nati ona l i sm in Iran to day i s inf use d in many ways wi th

a ver si on o f S h i i te Islam i c i de o lo g y, wh i l st in Isra el/ Pa l estine , nati ona l i sms on

e i ther si de have b e c ome impre g nate d wi th re l i g i ous e lements, Islam i c or Je wi s h . No t a l l nati ona l i sms p erhaps have th i s el em ent or man if est i t s o cl early. Frenc h rep ub l i can nati ona l i sm , i t can b e arg u e d , i s anch ore d in s om e ways in th e

s ep arati on o f Churc h and nation state, a s i s Am eri can nati ona l i sm . An d in d e e d

it wa s R o b er t B el la h wh o f ir st ar g ue d that nati ona l i sm in Am eri ca wa s what he

ca l le d “a c i vi l re l i g i on .” 24 But th i s wa s on rath er d i f ferent g round s to tho s e prop ose d by An derson an d wa s p ar t of a ver y d i ff erent deb ate a b out th e p o ss i b l e

d i f f erenc e s b et we en vari o us kinds of nati ona l i sm . D o d if ferenc e s over su ch d eta i ls matter ? Th e p ara dox h ere – o f pra i s e an d

influen c e f or a b o o k wh i ch i s h eavi ly cri ti ci se d by sp e ci a l i sts for h i stori ca l error s and ina c c urac i e s – i s n ot un i que to Im ag i ned Communiti es. O th er inf lu enti a l sch o lar s who s e b o o k s have ha d a la sting imp a ct have suff ere d or enj oye d th e same f ate . One th in k s here of Edward Sa id’s O ri e ntali sm – an e ven more influenti a l tom e than Imag i ned Comm uniti es in s om e ways . Th ere are in d e e d interesting p ara l l e ls b et we en th es e t wo writers – l i ke And er s on , Sa i d i s a l s o an

o utsi der o f sor ts ; a l so an ex i l e and m i g rant sc h o lar ; a l so a wri ter on p o l i ti c s wh o work s a g re at d e a l wi th l i terar y texts ; a l so an auth or wh o app ea ls a cross

d i s cip l inar y b oundaries to l i terar y and cu ltura l th e ori sts, h i stori ans an d p o l i ti ca l

s c i e nti s t s . It m i g ht b e a r g u e d tha t th e s u b s e q u e nt d e b a t e s a n d r e s e a r c h stimu late d by suc h g enera l i sing work s i s ar g ument eno ug h in th e ir f avour,

re g a rd l e ss o f th e m i sta ke s o f d e ta i l a n d i nt er p re tati o n th e y w i l l p erhap s

in e vi ta b l y c onta in . Af ter a l l , d esp i te th eir d i sm i ssa l o f m o st o f th e su b stanc e of An ders on’s h i stori ca l ana ly si s , many of th es e sam e s c h o lar s have ind i cate d that

n e ver th e le ss An ders on’s work had b e en fr u i tf u l in stimu lating a wh o l e h o st o f stud i es wh ic h dre w on h i s i d ea s and c on c epts . Even if th e ind ep en d enc e mo vements o f th e 1 8th c entur y cannot b e s e en a s forer unn er of Europ e an nati ona l ist an d th ird worl d nati ona l l i b erati on m o vem ents, th ere ha s b e en

incre a sing attenti on to th e pre senc e , a long si de repu b l i can i de a s , o f c on c ep ts of th e nati on . O ther wri ter s have ex am in e d no ve ls and ne w sp ap er s in m ore

c o nt e mp o r a r y c o nt e x t s f o r th e i r r e l a ti o n s h i p t o na ti o na l i s m . 2 5 C e r ta i n l y,

w i th o ut th e b o l d a t t e m p t s t o s y nth e s i s e , c o m p a r e a n d g e n e r a l i s e , m a ny

d

i s cip l ines wou l d b e th e p o orer. Ag a inst th is , one c o u l d ar g u e that th e deta i l s do matter, that th e ori s ing o f th i s

k

i n d a c r o s s s o c i a l s c i e n c e a n d hum a n i t i e s d i s c i p l i n e s , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n i t s

p

oststr uc tura l i st an d p ostm o d ern versi ons, ha s n o t fe lt i t ne c e ss ar y to pro vi de

s

o l id e viden c e and pro o f from ind i vi dua l ca se s . In remo ving the stu d y o f “ b i g

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i ssu e s” f rom th e han ds of sp e ci a l i sts , i t can to o ea si ly d i sm i ss d emand s for deta i le d examp l e s a s p osi ti vi st and emp iri c i st . R o b er t Ir win’s re c ent cri ti qu e o f Sa i d’s work ha s p erhaps g one f ur th est in rea cting to th i s tren d . Ar g u ing that Sa i d wa s wrong , se l e c ti ve and ina c curate, h e ha s c onc lu de d that O r ie ntal i sm “wa s a work of ma l i g nant c harlatanr y in wh i ch i t i s hard to d i sting u i sh h on est m ista ke s f rom wi lf u l m i srepresentati ons” and that the i ssu e s i t prom i s e d to op en up for sc ho lar s were n o t th os e th e y sh ou ld b e pur su ing : “th e va lu e of a de b ate that i s b a se d on a f anta s y ver sion o f p a st h i stor y and s c ho lar sh ip i s n o t o bvi o us .” 26 The i ssu e o f th e ori sing , howe ver, p o ints to anoth er area in wh i c h a s i g n i fi cant p ara dox in An derson’s work may b e i denti f i e d .

P a r ad ox Three : A m od e r n i s t a n d a Ma r x i st w ho o pe n e d t he w a y f o r a gen er a t i on of p os t m o de r n i s t a p p ro ac h e s t o t h e na t i o n And er son i s o f ten se en a s p ar t of th e mo dern i st sc ho o l o f wri ter s on nati ona l i sm , c o n n e c t e d i n h i s i n s i s t e n c e t h a t n a t i o n a l i s m i s a n e s s e n t i a l l y m o d e r n p h enom enon to wri ter s such a s G el lner an d Ho b sb awm 27 and ( in anoth er, more p o l i ti ca l vein) Jo hn Breu i l l y. 28 There are of c our se imp or tant d i s a g re em ents b et we en them, wh i c h have s om e b e aring on an i ssue we d is cuss later, th e extent to wh i ch And erson sh ou ld b e se en a s a criti c o f nationa l i sm . B oth Ho b sb awm ( a s th e ti tl e of h i s b o o k ind i cates) and G el l ner, f or instanc e, s e e nati ona l i sm a s an i de o l o g y wh i ch rests to a si g n i fi cant de g re e on inventi on . 29 And ers on’s p osi ti on ha s o f ten b e en m i sta ken ly a ssim i late d to th e irs , e ven by suc h su btl e cri ti c s a s th e anthrop o lo g i st Claud i o L omn i tz who th in k s that “the ima g inar y qua l i t y o f the nati ona l c ommun i t y i s a l so un derl ine d for a p o l i ti ca l p ur p os e, for And er son i s cri ti ca l o f nati ona l i sm an d so i s intent on s h owing i ts h i stori ca l c onting enc y an d its ‘invente d’ nature.” 30 But Anders on h ims elf i s cle ar that ima g in e d c ommun i ti e s sh ou l d no t b e jud g e d in terms o f tr uth / f a l si t y b ut the st yl e in wh i ch th e y are ima g ine d . It i s not a qu esti on o f the ima g inar y an d f a l se ver sus th e rea l . Ne ver th e l ess, de sp i te th ese imp or tant d i ff erenc es , a l l m o d ern i sts are a g re e d that nati ons are essentia l ly m o dern c onstr u cti ons, and that nati ona l i sm i s an e ssenti a l l y mo d ern p h enom enon . Th eir share d tar g e ts are a l l th os e wh o insi st in th eir d i ff erent ways on th e de ep , i f not e terna l ro ots o f th e nati on . Th e m o st s op h i sti cate d and influenti a l wri ter in what we m i g ht ca l l th e anti -m o d ern i st camp ( a lth o ug h h e is caref u l to d i sting u i sh h ims elf f rom prim ord i a l i sts of any kind ) i s of c o urse Anth ony Sm i th , wh o ha s pro du c e d many er ud i te vo lume s a l l insi sting that nati ons cl earl y em erg e long b e f ore th e mo d ern era , h owe ver th i s i s c o n c e i v e d a n d w h e n e v e r i t i s d a t e d . 3 1 B u t i t i s S m i t h , w h o h a s b e e n characteri sti ca l ly g enerous towards Anders on, who ha s p o inte d o ut th e p ara d ox h ere , that An d erson’s o euvre ha s insp ire d a who l e b o dy o f work wh i c h s e ems any th ing b ut m o dern i st in ke y resp e cts . Inde e d Sm i th ha s g on e s o f ar a s to ar g ue

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“Can such G o o dness b e pro f i ta b ly d iscarde d ? ” B en e d ict An d er son an d th e Po l i tic s o f Nati ona l i sm

that “Anders on’s g reatest ach i e vement i s to pro vi de a p ostm o d ern i st read ing o f th e nati on wi th in a mo d ern i st f ram e work .” 3 2 It i s th i s rea d ing wh i ch ha s l e d oth er s to pro duc e a who l e se t o f e xp l orati ons that have ha d a ver y lar g el y l i terar y f o c u s , a n a l y s i n g t h e v a r i o u s w a y s i n w h i c h , t o b o r r o w Ho m i B h a b h a’s emp hati ca l l y p ostm o d ern i st p hra se , th e nati on ha s b e en “narrate d .” 33 Th i s c onc ern wi th “wri ting th e nati on” ha s c er ta in l y b e en a fr u i tf u l s eam of ana l ys i s , b ut it se ems to have re su lte d in some th ing of a sur f e i t o f textua l ana l ys es that may i l lum inate th e texts th ems elves m ore than the y il lum inate th e nati ona l i sms or nati ons to wh i c h th e y may b e relate d . Th e b est o f su ch work f o c use s on th e d is cur s i ve strate g i e s at work in d e f in ing what the nati on i s and what i t i s not , on wh o th e y include an d wh o th e y exc lud e . Insof ar a s And erson i s an insp irati on h ere (wh i ch is pro b a b l y a g reat d ea l ), i t i s an eff e c t ver y larg e l y of h i s insi stenc e on th e p ower o f th e ima g ination . A s he f amo usly ar g u e d , th e imp or tant th ing ab out nati ona l i sm i s th e vari et y o f ways in wh i c h the ( nati ona l ) c ommun i t y i s ima g ine d an d th ere i s th en c onsi d era b le sc op e for scho lars to investi g ate the mann er in wh i ch p ar ti cu lar nati ona l d i sc o ur ses are c onstr ucte d , th e d i f ferent el em ents th e y c om b ine an d re c om b ine . And ind e e d h e h imse lf ha s sub se quentl y re c o g n i se d that h i s work p er f orm e d suc h a f un cti on , that a l re a dy in 1 98 3 he ha d “attemp te d to c om b in e a kin d of h istori ca l materi a l i sm wi th what later cam e to b e ca l le d d i s c o ur s e ana ly s i s ; Mar x i st mo dern i sm marri e d to p ostmo dern i sm avant l a l ettre.” 34 But , a s i s a lways the ca se with d i sc ourse ana lysi s, th ere i s th e d i f fi c u lt questi on o f th e materi a l c onte xt wi th in wh i ch such d i s c ur si ve strate g i es op erate, th e materi a l ro o ts o f suc h ima g in ing s . Sm i th sug g ests that th e bri d g e And er s on provi de d b et we en Mar xi st an d p ostmo dern i st appro ache s ha d th e ef fe c t of le a d ing to a b o d y o f su bs e qu ent work wh i ch wa s d i vorc e d f rom th e str u ctura l an d materi a l ro o te d ness o f And er son’s work an d wh i c h i g nore d o th er e l em ents o f cu lture – c ustoms, trad i tions, my ths e tc. (th e f o cus o f muc h o f Sm i th’s own work). 35 But th i s ra i s e s a f ur th er questi on . What exa c tly wa s ( h i stori ca l ) materi a l i st a b o ut An derson’s work in the f ir st p lac e ? What kin d o f a Mar x i st wa s he ? It i s tr ue that h i s e xp l orati on of the sub j e c t app ear s to b e l o cate d wi th in a Mar x i st pro b lemati c , or at le a st Mar xi sm’s f a i lure h i ther to to und er stan d an d exp la in nati ona l ism . ( But yo u don’t have to b e a Mar xi st to b e aware o f th i s pro b lem of c o urse . ) It i s a l so tr u e that h e ha s ver y of ten b e en ta ken to b e a Mar x i st o f s om e sor t. Sm i th, o ther wi se an a c ute c omm entator on h i s work , ta l k s o f h i s “spring ing f rom th e same Mar x i st h eri ta g e” a s Ho bsb awm , an ac kn owle d g e d and s elf- c ons c i o us l y Mar x i st h i stori an , an d we o ur s e lve s have p la c e d h im in that cate g or y. 3 6 There i s to o , to rem in d ourselves, th e no t un imp or tant matter o f h i s pub l i sher, Verso , the provenan c e of many o th er Mar x i st work s , in clu d ing tho s e of h i s bro th er. As Anders on h imself ha s no te d , h e wa s strong l y en c o ura g e d in

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1 9 8 2 to em b ark on Im ag i ned Comm unities by m em b er s o f th e e d i tori a l team on New L e ft R evie w, by b oth h i s bro ther Perr y and by Anthony Barn e tt . An d , f ina l ly, th ere i s h i s own over t ac knowl e d g em ent that i t wa s “thre e G o o d

G ermans, K arl Mar x , Wa lter B enj am in and Eri ch Au er b a ch , wh o h e lp e d m e

th

a c c ounting . 37 But th ere are, i t se ems to us, at lea st t wo pro b l ems wi th c ons i d ering h im a s a Mar xi st, howe ver l o o sel y def ine d . Th e y have to do wi th th e n oti on of print

in k ab out th e mo d ern worl d” – a hard ly unam b i g u ous p i e c e o f inte l l e c tua l

cap i ta l i sm an d wi th th e use he ma kes o f Wa lter B enjam in, and p ar ti c u larl y h i s n oti on o f “h omo g ene o us emp t y time.” It wa s, in And erson’s vi e w, a ver y p ar ti c u lar te c hn o lo g i ca l an d e c on om i c

de

ve lopment that ma de nati ona l i sm p o ss i b le.

[It wa s] print cap i ta l i sm wh i c h ma de i t p oss i b l e for g rowing num b er s of

p e op l e to th in k ab o ut th emselves and to relate thems elves to o th er s in

profo un d l y n e w way s … 2 0 ,00 0, 0 00 b o o k s ha d a lread y b e en printe d by 1 50 0 , si g na l l ing th e ons et of B enjam in’s ‘a g e of m e chan i ca l repro du cti on’

… on e o f the e arl iest f orms o f cap i ta l i st enter pri se, b o o k-p u b l i s h ing felt a l l cap i ta l i sm’s re stl ess se arc h f or marke ts . 38

D esp erate for re ad er s to b uy th eir c ommo d i ti es , pub l is h er s f a sten e d on the

“p

w h e n L a t i n w a s b e i n g “d e t h r o n e d ” b y t h e R e f o r m a t i o n ( a n d b y s t a t e a dm in i strators ). 39 And er son h ims elf p o ints to th e “ha lf- for tu i tous” nature o f th ese c onver g ent

de

Mar xi st f ram e o f ref erenc e. Cap i ta l i sm, in Mar x ’s vi e w at any rate, wa s af ter a l l

scarc e l y a c hanc e de vel opment but a m o d e o f pro du c ti on that app e are d f or profo un d and not at a l l a c c i denta l rea sons at a p ar ti cu lar mom ent in h i stor y. Inso f ar a s nati ona l ism i s a ma j or feature of the m o d ern world , on e wh ich str u cture s s o mu c h o f th e way we th in k ( an d he imp l i e s n ow have to th in k e ver y where) a b o ut the m o d ern worl d , h i s exp lanati on o f i t s e ems in Mar xi st terms to re st on a ver y th in fo undati on . It is d i ff i cu lt to s e e h ow i t can carr y th e e xp lanator y wei g ht h e se ek s to p lac e up on i t . Or, to p ut i t an o ther way, print

ve l opments . But th is el em ent of chanc e si ts som e what un e a s i ly wi th in a

o tenti a l ly hug e markets repre sente d by th e m ono g lo t ma ss es,” at a mom ent

cap i ta l i sm an d esp e c i a l ly th e emerg enc e o f ne wsp ap er s a s a p ar ti c u larly d e c i si ve pro du c t o f th i s branc h of cap i ta l i st pro ducti on s e ems an un l i kel y b a s i s for su c h

a momento us d e ve l opm ent. Th ere are f e w Mar xi sts, on e wo u l d venture , wh o

wou l d i denti f y n e w sp ap er pro du cti on a s c entra l to th i s m o d e o f pro du cti on . The attenti on of Mar x i sts ( an d th ose wh o e a si ly a ssum e d And er s on wa s a Mar xi st) may have b e en d i ver te d to som e extent f rom such c ons i d erati ons by h i s

e o f Wa lter B enj am in, an i c on i c f i g ure in h i s own ri g ht an d on e who s e “aura”

us

(to use a B enj am in i an term) may p erhap s have da zz le d som e re a der s of the b o o k .

B e n j a m i n’s f a m o u s e s s a y “ T h e Wo r k o f A r t i n t h e A g e o f Me c h a n i c a l

1 0

“Can such G o o dness b e pro f i ta b ly d iscarde d ? ” B en e d ict An d er son an d th e Po l i tic s o f Nati ona l i sm

R epro duc ti on” wa s c er ta in l y a p owerf u l materi a l ist c ontri b uti on to c u ltura l ana lysi s . It may wel l have h elp e d insp ire th e c onc ept o f print cap i ta l i sm and th e cla ims Ander son ma kes f or i ts relati onsh ip to c hang e d f orms o f c ons c i ousn e ss an d su bj e cti vi t y. An d th ere i s in p ar ti c u lar B enj am in’s no ti on of “h om o g ene o us empt y time ” wh i c h Anders on se e s a s c entra l to th e i dea s of th e transf ormati ons o f c onsci o usn e ss that h elp e xp la in the emer g enc e o f nati ona l i sm, wi th i ts n e w sens e of simu ltan ei t y an d th e p erc epti on o f th e onward march of th e nati on throug h time, l in king p a st , pre sent and f uture in a se am l ess s e quen c e . But there are some pro b l ems wi th th i s ref eren c e to and appropriati on of B enjam in . Th i s i s n ot on l y b e cause B enj am in wa s a rather unusua l Mar x ist , wi th h is interest in the o l o g y and my sti c i sm (nota b l y th e Kab b a la h) . Th e Mar x i sts to wh om he wa s c l o se st , Horkh eimer and Adorno, th e ackn owl e d g e d l ea d er s of th e Fran kf ur t S c ho o l (s carc ely the em b o d im ent of or tho dox y ) re f use d to pu b l i sh some of B enj am in’s mo st sig n i fi cant work , on th e g ro und s i t wa s insuf f i ci entl y d i a le c ti ca l in i ts appro ac h . 4 0 Th e y were susp i ci ous to o of h is m ess i an i sm , wh i c h wa s c entra l to h i s c on c epti on o f Mar x i sm a s a re vo luti onar y cre e d , a p er sp e c ti ve s carc e ly share d by And erson . And i t n e e ds to b e rememb ere d that B enjam in wa s no t on l y a re vo luti onar y Mar x i st but an internati ona l i st one, h osti le l i ke a num b er o f o ther s o f h i s g en erati on ( p ar ti c u larl y in th e G erman c onte xt , wh ere R o s a Luxem b ur g ’s i n f l u e n c e r e m a i n e d s t r o n g ) , t o a n y m o v e s t o r e c o n c i l e Ma r x i s m w i t h nati ona l ism . B enjam in’s internati ona l i sm p la c e d g reat stra ins on h i s c los est f ri en d s h ip , wi th th e Je wi s h my sti c G er s h om S c h o l em , wh o em i g rate d to Pa l estin e and wante d B enj am in to j o in h im . Th i s B enj am in re f use d to d o , r e j e c t i n g Z i o n i s m a s a n a t i o n a l i s t m o v e m e n t i n f a v o ur o f t h e c a u s e o f internati ona l so ci a l i sm , a re f usa l that ( a s S ch o l em warne d h im i t wou ld ) wa s to c ost h im h i s l if e. 4 1 It i s hard to se e Anders on sharing B enjam in’s p o l i tic s in what i s s carc e l y an irre le vant are a . But p erhap s m ore profound l y, th e thr ust o f mu ch o f B enjam in’s work a ctua l l y se ems to g o a g a inst th e d ire c ti on o f An der son’s own ar g um ents . B enjam in wa s a pro foun d cri ti c o f a l l th e ori es o f pro g ress , a s h i s p o sthum o us ly f am ous Theses on the Phil osophy o f Hi stor y ma ke dramati ca l l y clear. 42 It i s hard to re c on c i l e th i s p o si ti on wi th a no ti on of nati ona l i sm a s a s i g n i f i cant h i stori ca l step for ward , ma king a f undam enta l r upture in a h i ther to relati vel y cl os e d , el i ti st me d ie va l , Chri sti an p o l i ti ca l an d c onc eptua l f ram e work . And er s on s e ems to sug g e st that onc e th i s brea k wa s mad e, i t op en e d up a wh o le n e w way of th in king wh i c h wa s unstopp a b le , sprea d ing o ut a cross th e world o ver the n ext f e w c enturi e s in a wave that sh ow s ( in h i s vi e w ) no si g n o f stopp ing . The ori g ina l ep i c entre of th i s wave o f c ourse wa s no t , a s i t wa s f or many oth er m o dern i sts , Europ e b ut L atin Ameri ca . In p utting th e latter at th e c entre of th e ori g ins of mo dern nati ona l i sm , Ander son c er ta in l y o ff ere d a n o ve l p er sp e c ti ve,

1 1

T H E I N FLU E N C E O F B E N E D I C T A N D E R S O N

wh i c h app e are d to brea k wi th th e ma in l y Europ e an f o cus o f h i s c ontemp orari e s , but th i s on l y op ens up a f ur th er p ara dox .

P a r ad ox F our : A p e r s p e c t i v e t ha t re a ch e s o ut b e y on d the

tr a di tion al E u rope an foc us of m uc h w r i t i ng on na t i o na l i s m y e t is cr iti c i se d fo r an e s s e n t ia l ly c ol o n ia l is t p e rs p e c t i v e

It wa s c er ta in l y a de l i b erate c h o i c e, b a se d on what h e later ad m i tte d wa s a

d eterm ine d “p o l em ica l intent … to de -Europ e an i z e th e the oreti ca l stud y o f nati ona l i sm .” 42 It i s hard not to se e s om e of th e imp u l s e b eh in d th i s stan c e a s d eri ving f rom h i s up bring ing an d p ersona l sens e o f b e ing an outs id er to a c onventi ona l Europ ean or US up bring ing . In any e vent, i t wa s c l earl y an o ver t c ha l l eng e to th e pre va i l ing Euro c entri c vi e w o f nati ona l i sm a s a pro du c t o f Europ ean s o ci e ti es, wh eth er Eng l i sh or Frenc h . And y e t th i s ha s not pre vente d h im f rom b e ing th e su b j e c t o f a m ost interesting l ine o f cri ti ci sm . D esp i te arg ua b l y bring ing the bro a d est p er sp e cti ve f rom the th ird worl d and ind e e d g lo b a l ly to b ear on nati ona l i sm than any oth er s c ho lar in the Eng l i sh lang ua g e, h e ha s b e en cri ti c i se d , no tab l y by p o stc o l on i a l wri ters from th e Su b a ltern Stud i es g roup, f or sti l l b e l i e ving at som e l e vel that nati ona l i sm wa s ori g ina l l y a we stern p h enomen on and that oth er s o uts i d e the we st wou l d have to f o l low an essenti a l ly western m o d el . Th e m o st s op h i sti cate d exp onent of th i s cri ti que ha s b e en Par tha Chatter j e e , wh o ha s p o inte d o ut qu i te shar p l y that :

If nati ona l i sms in the re st of the world have to c ho os e th e ir ima g in e d c ommun i t y f rom c er ta in ‘mo du lar ’ f orms a l rea d y ma d e ava i la b le to them by Europ e an d the Ameri ca s, what d o th e y have le f t to ima g ine ? Hi stor y, i t

wou l d se em, ha s de cre e d that we in th e p o stc o l on i a l worl d s ha l l on l y b e p er p e tua l c onsumer s o f m o dern i t y. Europ e an d the Ameri ca s , th e on ly tr u e su b j e cts o f h istor y, have th oug ht out on our b e ha lf n ot on ly the s crip t o f c o l on i a l en l i g htenm ent an d exp lo i tati on, but a l so that o f our anti - c o lon ia l re si stan c e an d p ostc o lon i a l m i s er y. Even o ur ima g inati ons must rema in f ore ver c o l on i se d . … 4 4 And er son’s p ersp e cti ve, wh i l e o stensi b ly de ep l y s ymp athe ti c to n on-Western exp eri enc e s, a c tua l l y b l o ck s h im from se e ing what wa s un i que and in d e e d m o st interesting a b o ut many of th em . In f act “th e m o st p ower f u l a s wel l a s th e m o st creative re su lts o f the nati ona l i st ima g inati on in A si a and Af ri ca are p o s i te d n o t on an i denti t y b ut rath er on a d i fferenc e wi th th e m o du lar f orms of th e nati ona l s o ci e t y prop a g ate d by th e m o dern West.” 45 T h i s b l i n d n e s s i s n o t a c c i d e n t a l b u t m a y b e r o o t e d i n a d e e p e r

m etho d o l o g i ca l f law. Th e appropri ati on (from B enj am in, a s we have s e en) of the

n oti on o f “emp t y h omo g ene ous tim e” a s the tim e t yp i ca l o f m o dern i t y and e n a b l i n g t h e n a t i o n a l i m a g i n i n g , o b s c u r e s o t h e r f o r m s o f t i m e . T h e s e ,

1 2

“Can such G o o dness b e pro f i ta b ly d iscarde d ? ” B en e d ict An d er son an d th e Po l i tic s o f Nati ona l i sm

Chatter j e e ar g ue s, c o - ex i st with a we stern m o de l of m o dern i t y. To und er stand

th i s , we n e e d an o th er n o ti o n , what h e ca l l s th e “h e tero g en e o us tim e o f

mo dern i t y.” “ The se oth er tim es are not mere sur viva ls o f a pre -m o d ern p a st :

the y are the ne w pro duc ts of th e en c ounter wi th m o dern i t y i ts e lf.” 46 And ers on , he sug g ests, i s to o we d de d to En l i g htenm ent c onc epti ons of pro g re ss and tim e emb e dde d in nati ona l i st ima g in ing s to m ea sure up to the re a l iti e s o f th e

p ostc o l on i a l world . Chatter j e e an d o thers in the Sub a ltern sch o o l have ar g ue d e ls e wh ere that e l i t e s i n th e p o s t c o l o n i a l w o rl d u s e d nati o na l i sm t o s up p r e ss a l t ernati ve (sub a ltern) vo i c e s . 47 An derson h imself se ems to have b e en surpri s ing l y s i lent on suc h p o ssi b i l iti e s wh ich p o ints to a f ur th er se t o f p ara d oxes , i f no t n ow c ontra d i cti ons , in h i s work .

Pa r ad ox F i v e: An in i ti a l ly c ri t ic a l s t a n c e t o wa rd s a n t i - co l o nia l nat ion al i s m f ol l ow ed by s i le n c e Th i s si l enc e may b e c onne c te d to th e ch o i c e o f Latin Am eri can nationa l ism a s

the c entrep i e c e o f h i s exp lanati on f or th e ri s e o f nati ona l i sm . For nati ona l i sm

h

ere , on An der son’s own a c c ount, had a p ar ti cu larl y e l i ti st c hara cter. It wa s

d

ri ven and ar ti c u late d primari ly by l o ca l el i te s envi ous o f m e trop o l i tan on e s ,

f r ustrate d by lac k o f re c o g n i ti on and unwi l l ing to c ontinu e to p ay p o l i ti ca l and finan ci a l homa g e . Th ere i s th en a p ara d ox i ca l sense in wh i ch L atin Ameri can nati ona l ism may wel l have b e en a forer unn er o f anti - c o lon i a l nati ona l i sms . Invo king p op u lar supp or t, one of i ts ma in a c c omp l is hments wa s to su bsti tute ne w p o stc o l on i a l e l i te s f or o l der c o l on i a l one s . If th e prom i se o f d em o cra c y wa s there at the b e g inn ing , i t sl owl y or s ometim e s qu i c kly f a de d away in a l l to o many

ca se s . But th e pro b l em i s no t on l y one of el i ti sm and a p o tenti a l d i ver g enc e of interest b et we en el i te s and ma sses insi de th e n e w nati on . Th ere is a l so th e

pro b lem of c onf l i c t b et we en n e w nati ons themselves . It wa s, i t wi l l b e re ca l l e d ,

th e acute d i sapp o intment cause d by th e sp e c ta cle o f t wo suc c essf u l nati ona l

l i b erati on m ovements turn ing th eir arms on e a c h o ther in th e Cam b o d i a -

V i e tnam c onfl i c t that wa s app arentl y th e imm e d i ate insp irati on f or Im ag i ned

Communities in the first p la c e. Why, having d ef e ate d Am eri can imp eri a l i sm , d i d the se t wo supp o se d l y so ci a l i st states now wa g e war on ea ch oth er ?

But th i s c haracteri s ati on o f V i e tnam and Camb o d i a may have b e en d e c ep ti ve .

It

wa s not ori g ina l l y a s a s o c i a l i st movement that An ders on wa s d rawn to th e

V

i e tname se nati ona l l i b erati on str ug g le . R e ca l l a g a in th e pre c i se e xpress ions h e

use d to d e s crib e “ V i e tname se hero i sm in th e f a c e of the Am eri can fire storm , wh i c h I saw a s a nati ona l i st m ore than a so c ia l i st h ero i sm .” 48 But i f it wa s anti - c o lon i a l nati ona l i sm that h e wa s d rawn to , what c ou ld he s ay wh en th is

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T H E I N FLU E N C E O F B E N E D I C T A N D E R S O N

nati ona l i sm wa s turne d a g a inst oth er nati ona l i sms, e qua l ly anti - c o l on i a l and e qua l l y de ser ving of h i s s ymp athy and a d m irati on? Th i s d i l emma i s, o f c o ur se, by no means c onf ine d to An d er son . But i t i s

p

e r h a p s s i g n i f i c a n t t h a t A n d e r s o n s a i d v e r y l i t t l e a b o u t t h i s p a r t i c u l a r

d

e ve l opment in th e c ourse of a b o o k that wa s supp o s e d l y mo ti vate d by i ts

c c urren c e. It i s p erhaps p ar ti cu larly si g n i f i cant that the c onfl i ct b e t we en th e se t wo nati ona l i sms to o k p la c e in th e c onte xt o f ( i f i t wa s n ot e ven caus e d by ) the worst ca se o f g eno c id e sinc e th e Ho lo caust . For th i s wa s a g en o ci d e in wh i ch nati ona l i sm p lay e d a qu i te c entra l ro le. ( It i s no t o f c our s e th e on ly such ca s e. ) It wa s a f ter a l l Po l Pot ’s o bs essi ve de sire to rea l i se h i s arc ha i c vi s i on of a re b orn , c l eanse d Camb o d i an king dom that lay at th e h e ar t of th e i d e o l o g y of th e K hm er

o

R o ug e an d l e d to th e murder o f an a ston i sh ing one –th ird o f th e Cam b o d i an

p opu lati on in such a sh or t sp ac e of time. Al l th ose wh o d id not f i t into h i s mo del o f th e K hmer nati on were to b e

kil l e d . B en Ki ernan ha s arg ue d p er sua si vel y that th i s wa s b o th a nati ona l i st and

a raci st proj e c t4 9 an d th i s may b e on e rea son f or Anderson’s d i f fi c u lt y and

s il en c e. For h e i s at g reat p a ins in Im ag i ned Comm uniti es to d raw c le ar l in es

b et we en nati ona l ism and raci sm, wh i c h h e insi sts are qu i te d i f ferent way s o f

ima g in ing the worl d . And th i s bring s us to th e la st an d p erhap s m o st p uzz l ing

p ara dox of a l l .

Pa r ad ox Si x: H i s a p p a ren t l y c ri t ic a l s t a n c e to w a rd s nat ion a l i s m

w h e n h e i s o fte n ( in t h e e n d ? ) d e e p l y s y m p a th e t i c

And er son ins i sts that nati ona l i sm and ra cism have to b e kep t qu i te s ep arate , that

th e y are qu i te d i f f erent in ori g in and imp l i cati on . “ Th e f a c t of th e matter i s that

nati ona l i sm th in k s in terms of h i stori ca l de stin i es , wh i le ra ci sm d reams o f e terna l c ontam inati ons .” 5 0 He ar g ues that ra c i sm do es n ot cut a cross nati ona l

b o un dari e s b ut i s rath er f o c use d interna l l y on h i erarch i ca l d i f feren c e s b et we en

p e op l e l i ving in one so ci et y. W h i lst ra ci sm i s dep i c te d a s d estr u cti ve , d ri ven by hatre d and fe ar, nati ona l i sm s e ems to b e c ons i d ere d c onstr u cti ve, insp ire d by

fe el ing s of lo ve and cre ati vi t y, dri ven by a sp irati ons an d d re ams for a b e tter

f uture . 51 Th i s attempt to d i sting u i sh th e t wo s o shar p l y i s not wh o l ly p er sua s i ve, and

wou l d c er ta in ly b e cha l leng e d by o th er wri ters , wh o wo u l d ar g ue that ra c ia l cate g ori es are de ep l y im bri cate d wi th nati ona l ones in ver y many ca s es . 52 Th i s wa s p ar ti cu larly tr ue in 1 9th c entur y Europ e ( and theref ore ver y s o on in d e e d a f ter the emerg en c e o f nati ona l i sm on And er son’s own a c c o unt) wh ere p s e u d o -

sc ienti fi c i d ea s a b out “ra c e ” inform e d many nati ona l i st m o vem ents, p ar ti cu larl y tho se wi th imp eri a l i st am b i ti ons . 53 But L omn i tz sug g ests that suc h l in ka g es c ou l d b e f o und to o in th e Ib eri an sp ea king world that f orms th e b a s i s for mu c h

o f An d erson’s own ana lysi s .

1 4

“Can such G o o dness b e pro f i ta b ly d iscarde d ? ” B en e d ict An d er son an d th e Po l i tic s o f Nati ona l i sm

In th e ca se o f Sp a in, at l ea st, ‘raci a l’ i denti t y ( in the sense o f a b l o o d l in e ) wa s c o up l e d wi th l ing u i sti c i d enti t y for th e formation o f an opp os i ti on

b e t we en ‘ Sp an i ards’ and ‘ In d i ans,’ and i t wa s desc ent from O l d Chri sti ans

who ha d f o ug ht ho l y war s that ma d e Sp an iard s a c h o sen p e op l e. 54 Th i s i s a si de of nati ona l i sm that And erson se ems m o st reluctant to f ore g roun d

or p erhaps e ven to re c o g n i se. Th i s me ans that h e ha s l i ttle to s ay a b out s om e of

th

chara c ter. For ra ci sm i s s carc el y a bsent e ven f rom th e mo st supp os e d ly civi c of nati ona l isms, where arg uments ab out wh o an d wh o i s not to b e in clu d e d a l m ost

invari a b l y ta ke a ra c i a l i z e d form . 55 W hene ver c i vi c nati ons ( a s the y ima g in e themselve s) ra i se b arri ers a g a inst imm i g rants and e ven th o s e s e eking a s ylum ,

th

Fran c e, Austri ans in G ermany have n e ver b e en se en in th e s am e way a s Bang lade sh i s , Al b an i ans or Kurds . Th e l a ng ua g e us e d t o d e s cri b e th o s e w h o wa nt to enter th e nati o na l c ommun i t y i s of ten f u l l o f ne g ati ve, den i g rating ima g es o f on e kin d or anoth er, e vo king d i sl i ke e ven hatre d o f th e oth er. But And er son insi sts that such th em es

are at b est marg ina l to th e nati ona l i st ima g inati on , that nati ona l i st d i s c ours e ha s

a ver y d i f ferent chara cter. It i s , h e sug g ests at one p o int, on l y “pro g ress i ve ,

c o smop o l i tan inte l le c tua l s ( p ar ti cu larly in Europ e ? ) ” wh o want to “ins i st on th e

ne ar-p atho lo g i ca l c harac ter o f nati ona l i sm .” 5 6 A g a inst th em, h e arg ue s strong l y that we ne e d to rem ind o ur s elve s that nati ons insp ire lo ve, and of ten profo un d l y self- sacri f i c ing l ove . The c u ltura l pro ducts of nati ona l i sm … s how th i s love ver y

c learl y in th ousands [ si c] o f d i ff erent f orms an d st yl e s . On th e o th er hand ,

h ow tr u l y rare i t i s to f ind ana lo g ous nati ona l ist pro du cts e xpress ing fe ar an d l o ath ing . ( 1 4 1-14 2)

Th i s s e ems a rather p ar ti a l jud g ement at b est . Even i f one were to a c c ep t for

e s a ke of the arg ument that (som e ) p e op le may wi sh to s acri f i c e th ems elves for

lo ve of c ountr y, th e y tend to d o so in th e attempt to ki l l lar g e num b er s o f oth er

p e op l e, usua l l y in wars wh ic h, a s Ba la kri s hnan ha s p o inte d o ut, i s lar g el y a b s ent from And ers on’s c onsi derati ons . 57 Th i s i s b oth curi o us and p erhap s re vea l ing , g iven that war wa s a c tua l l y h i s star ting p o int. Most of tho s e wh o f i g ht in nati ona l i st war s may no t b e qu i te a s sp ontane o us l y motivate d a s th i s l ine of arg um ent sug g ests . S om e have to b e c o erc e d , e ven p un ish e d for th eir ref us a l , i f th e y happ en to b e (f or instan c e ) p a cif i sts or c onsc i enti ous o b j e c tor s or internati ona l i sts . Most o f thos e wh o fi g ht and ki l l have o f ten to b e c ons crip te d , m o b i l i se d by a c om b inati on of l e g a l m ea sure s an d

th

e y a lm ost a lway s do so on a raci a l i ze d b a si s . Austra l i ans in th e U K , Swi ss in

e m o st pro b l emati c f e atures o f nati ona l i sm , no ta b ly i ts f re quentl y exc lus i onar y

id e o l o g i ca l app e a l s . The se invari a b l y lay g re at stress on the g rave threats f a cing

th

e nati on, thre ats to i ts se curit y and e ven e xi stenc e.

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T H E I N FLU E N C E O F B E N E D I C T A N D E R S O N

The c onver s e of th ese threats i s usua l l y a s om e what i d ea l i s e d , e ven Utop i an ima g e o f th e nati ona l c ommun i t y i tself, and in th e en d i t i s th i s app ea l , a esth eti ca l l y and mora l l y, that se ems to se duc e e ven And ers on h ims elf. “I must b e th e on l y one writing ab out nati ona l i sm wh o d o e sn’t th in k i t ug ly. If yo u th in k a b out re se arc h ers suc h a s G e l lner and Ho bsb awm , th e y have qu i te a ho sti l e attitude to nati ona l i sm . I actua l l y th in k that nati ona l i sm can b e an attra c ti ve i de o l o g y. I l i ke i ts Utop i an el em ents .” 58 In the fina l e ssay o f th e c o l l e cti on “ Th e Sp e c tre of Comp ari s ons” wh i c h c onta ins a num b er o f imp or tant l i terar y and p o l i tica l e ss ays , An d ers on g o es f ur th er sti l l , in an e ssay enti tle d “ Th e G o o dne ss of Nati ons,” a ti tle that app e ar s at fir st to b e sem i -iron i c but f ina l l y pro ves n ot to b e iron i c at a l l . There i s some th ing o f va lue in a l l of th i s – strang e a s i t m i g ht se em . … E a c h in a d i f ferent b ut re late d way sh ows why, n o matter what crim es a nati on’s g overnment c omm i ts and i ts p a ss ing ci ti z enr y en d or s es , My Co untr y i s u ltimatel y G o o d . In th ese stra itene d m i l lenn i a l tim es , can such G o o d n e ss b e pro fi tab l y d i scard e d ? 59

In c o ncl u s i on Th i s se ems a mo st p arad ox i ca l c onclusi on f or some one wh os e m o st inf lu enti a l work b e g ins with a que sti on ab out what m i g ht b e th o ug ht to l i e at th e ver y opp osi te end o f the sp e ctr um : war and g eno ci d e. But, a s we have sug g este d , i t i s by n o me ans the on l y p arad ox to b e fo und in h i s work and in i ts re c epti on . The se p arad oxes tel l us s om eth ing p erhaps a b out th e bro a d er intel le c tua l and p o l i tica l sc en e in wh i c h Anderson ha s b e en su c h an inf lu enti a l fi g ure and ab o ut the aud i enc es , on th e le f t esp e c i a l l y, to whom h i s wri ting may b e a d d re ss e d . T h e r e i s a c e r t a i n f u z z i n e s s i n c r u c i a l a r e a s , a n i n i t i a l a p p e a r a n c e o f c osmop o l i tan i sm s i tting unea si l y a si d e an d in th e en d b e ing rep la c e d by an in cre a sing l y op en a dvo cac y of a c er ta in kind o f nati ona l i sm . It i s p ar t o f p erhap s bro ad er p o l i ti c s g ro und e d in anti -imp eri a l i sm m ore than any kin d o f o ver t s o ci a l i sm, wi th a do se of no sta l g i a for supp o se d ly pro g ress i ve nati ona l i st l ea d er s an d th e nati ona l l i b erati on m o vem ents th e y l e d to in i ti a l su c c e ss ; an d a re luctan c e to l o o k to o clo sel y at later, p o st- c o lon i a l d e velopm ents . And erson h imse lf se ems wel l aware of th e sourc e o f h i s b o o k ’s app ea l . In h i s p ar tl y ref le cti ve la st chapter in th e th ird e d i ti on o f Im ag i ned Comm uniti es, he wri tes o f the b o o k a s un i qu el y b i a s e d towards “sma l l c o untri es ,” a refl e c ti on p ar tl y o f h i s supp or t f or th e p o s i ti on o f Tom Na irn , an o th er wri ter on nati ona l i sm p u b l i sh e d by Verso and wi th s om e in i tia l Mar x i st cre d enti a l s . “ In many p ar ts o f th e world” h e wri tes, “f acu lt y m emb er s an d stu d ents , i f th e y have p o l i ti ca l c omm i tments at a l l , are L e f t , or l i b era l-l ef t in th eir s ymp ath i es an d are op en to I C ’s a g enda . That th e b o o k , th oug h wri tten in Eng l i s h, wa s a ls o p ar tl y

1 6

“Can such G o o dness b e pro f i ta b ly d iscarde d ? ” B en e d ict An d er son an d th e Po l i tic s o f Nati ona l i sm

a ime d at Bri ti s h and Ameri can imp eri a l i sm , may a ls o have b e en a f a ctor [ in i ts app e a l ] .” 6 0 If th i s a im wa s th ere f rom th e o utse t, we p erhaps n e e d to th in k a b o ut Anderson a s more than s imp l y a ma j or c ontri butor to an d influen c e on th e stu d y of nati ona l ism . He ha s p erhaps b e c om e ( i f h e wa s n o t a l l a l ong ) an imp or tant p ar ti cip ant in th e p o l i ti cs of nati ona l i sm i ts elf .

N ote s

1 Ernest G el l ner, Nati ons and Nation alism ( Ox f ord : Bla ckwel l , 1 9 8 3 ).

2 Eric Ho bsb awm and Terenc e R ang er, e d s . , The Inv e nti on of Tra diti on ( Cambri d g e :

Cam brid g e Un i ver s it y Press, 19 83 ) .

3 B en e d ic t And er son, Im ag i ned Comm unities (L on don : Ver s o , 1 9 9 1) ; a l l re feren c e s un l ess o th er wi se ind i cate d are to the s e c on d e d iti on .

4 Ernest G el l ner, Tho ught an d Cha ng e ( L on don : We idenf eld an d Ni c h o lson, 1 9 6 5 ).

5 In h is af ter word to the th ird e d i ti on of Imag ined Communiti es ( 2 00 6 ) An d er son h imse lf wri tes : “Asi d e f rom th e advanta g es o f bre vi t y, I C re stf u l ly o c c lud e s a p a ir o f words from wh i c h the vamp ires o f b ana l i t y have by n ow su c ke d a l l th e b lo o d” (20 7 ) .

6 <http :// www.eng l is h .em or y.e du /Ba hri/An d er son .htm l> [ a c c e sse d 5 / 5/ 06 ] . Jam es Care w O’G orman And er son had pre vi o us l y b e en marrie d to th e remarka b l e Stel la B enson ( 189 2-1 933) a novel i st, p o e t, s hor t stor y wri ter, travel writer an d f em in ist . The y marrie d in 1 921 in Ch ina an d s he s e ttle d un e a si ly into th e ro le o f c o lon ia l wif e . Sh e camp a ig n e d a g a inst prostitution and th e tra f f i c in women and ch i ldren an d wa s a fri end of many f amo us writers su c h a s Win i f re d Ho ltby, Naom i Mi tc h e son, R e b e c ca West, V ita Sa c kvi l l e We st and th e p o e t Amy L owe l l .

7 <http :// g lo b e tro tter. b erkel e y.e du /El b er g/And er s on / an d er son- c on 1 . htm l >

8 Perr y Anders on write s o f th es e f e e l ing s o f mar g ina l is ati on :

Wh en I wa s a ki d here in b o ard ing s c ho o l in L o s Gatos … Oh , in Ca l i f orn i a ? In Ca l i forn i a , yes . I ha d an Eng l is h a c c ent, o f c o ur s e, a s d id my broth er. An d so we were p icke d at , no t e x ac tly tar g e te d , but, th e m i xture o f a kind o f d eris i on an d , y ou kn ow how it is with sma l l c h il d ren , ‘He’s an outs id er.’ We were treate d a s Eng l is h . By the tim e I g o t b a ck to Eng land , imm e d iate ly af ter the war, we had Am eri can a c c ents , so we were tre ate d a s Americans . An d Am erican kid s a l s o were o b j e c ts , to s om e extent , o f f un , or of attack . Th en g o ing b a ck to Ire land , we were tre ate d a s Eng l is h . An d the Iris h d on’t l i ke th e Eng l ish ver y mu c h , s o we had that . And then, fina l l y, I came b a c k to Eng lan d a g a in , by wh ic h tim e, we were treate d a s Iri s h . S o that pro c e ss unse ttl e d what on e m ig ht th in k o f a s an unre fle c ti ve or automati c attachm ent to one ’s own c o untr y.

( <http :/ / g lo b e tro tter. b erke le y.e

du / El b er g/ An d er son /an d er s on- c on1 .htm l >

9 Intro duction to h is e d ite d e ss ays – B en e d ict R . O’G . An der son , L a ng u ag e a n d Pow e r :

E x pl ori ng Politic al Cultures in Ind onesia (Itha ca : C ornel l , 1 990 ) 2 , 1 0 .

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T H E I N FLU E N C E O F B E N E D I C T A N D E R S O N

1 0 “I wa s then t went y y e ar s o ld an d had n e ver ha d a serio us p o l itica l th o ug ht in my l if e,” wri te s And er s on (Lang ua g e an d Power 1 ). 1 1 L ang uag e an d Po we r 2 - 3 . 1 2 R esp ons es 23.

13 Res ponses 23.

14 Th ere is s om e th ing of a myster y surro un d ing h is nam ing . B o o k s have b e en wri tten by B en An der son, B ene d ic t And er s on , and the f u l l s ca l e B ene d ic t Ric hard O’G orman Ander son , a ltho ug h the latter se ems to have b e en a b and one d many y ear s a g o. (Ind e e d one c onf us e d re vi e wer, p o sting on th e we bs ite of th e Insti tute of Id e a s , attrib utes Imag i ned Communities to t wo author s – R ic hard O’G orman and B en e d i c t An d er s on !)

( < http ://w ww.c u lture war s .or g .u k / 2 0 05 -0 1 / in d op a k . htm >) .

15 Ander son, L a ng u ag e and Po we r 6 -7 .

16 Ern est R enan, “ What is a Nati on ? ,” Nati onalism i n Europ e – 1 81 5 to the Prese nt, e d . S . Wo o lf (L ond on : R o utle d g e 199 6) 5 0. 1 7 An der s on, Im ag ined Comm unities 6 . 1 8 Im ag i ned Comm unities 1 33 . 1 9 Jo hn Charle s Cha ste en , “ Intro du c ti on : B e yon d Ima g in e d Commun iti e s,” B e y on d Imag i ned Comm uniti es : Rea ding a nd Wr iti ng the Nati on in 1 9th ce ntur y L ati n Ame r ic a, e ds . Jo hn Charl es Cha ste en an d Sara h Ca stro -K laren ( Ba ltimore : Jo hn Hop kins Un iver sit y Pre ss , 2003) x i . 2 0 Nic o la Mi l ler, “ The h i stori o g rap hy o f nati ona l ism an d nationa l i d entit y in Latin America ,” Nati on s and Nation al i sm 1 2 . 2 ( 20 0 6) : 20 1-21 . 2 1 Ander son, Im ag ined Comm uniti es 6 . 2 2 Ander son, Im ag ined Comm uniti es 7 . 2 3 Althoug h G el l ner attemp te d in h i s later work to c ounter the cri tici sm that h e wa s no t at a l l intereste d in the em o tiona l app ea l o f nationa l i sm . 2 4 R o b er t B el la h, “Civi l R e l i g ion in Am erica ,” B e y on d B el ie f, e d . R . B e l la h ( Ne w York :

Har p er and R ow, 1 97 0) . 2 5 Mi l ler, Nati ons and Nationali sm. 2 6 R o b er t O wen, For Lu st o f Kno wing : the O ri e ntal ists a nd thei r Ene mi es (L ond on :

Al l en L ane, 20 06) . For a re c ent d ef en c e o f Sa id that a ss er ts the overrid ing va lu e of h is work de sp ite its many error s , s e e L awrenc e R osen , “Orienta l ism R e vi si te d – E dward Sa id’s Unfin ish e d Criti qu e ”: “Sa i d g o t mu c h o f th e su bstan c e wrong , b ut h is m e th o d … wa s b a s ica l ly s o und” (< http :/ / b ostonre vie w. ne t /B R 32. 1 / ro s en .htm l> [ a c c e sse d 7/ 3/ 2007]) . 2 7 Ho bsb awm’s ma j or work on th e su b j e ct (s o f ar ) ha s b e en h i s wid e -rang ing se t of l e c tures on Nati on s an d Nation alism si nce 1 7 8 0 ( Cam brid g e : Cam brid g e Un iver s i t y Press, 1992 ). The c ho ic e of the ye ar 17 8 0 is s l ig htl y id ios yn crati c b ut s ymp tomatic . 2 8 Jo hn Breu il l y, Nati onali sm a nd the State, 2n d e d . ( Manc h ester : Man c he ster Un iver s it y Pre ss , 1993) . 2 9 “Nati ons a s a natura l , G o d- g i ven way of cla ss i f ying m en, a s an in h erent … p o l i tica l

1 8

“Can such G o o dness b e pro f i ta b ly d iscarde d ? ” B en e d ict An d er son an d th e Po l i tic s o f Nati ona l i sm

de stiny, are a my th ; nati ona l ism , wh ic h s om etim e s ta ke s pre - e xi sting cu ltures an d turns th em into nati ons, s om etime s invents them , and o f ten o b l i terate s pre - e xi sting c u lture s ; that i s rea l it y ” (Ernest G e l ln er, Nati on s an d Nationali sm [ 1 9 8 3] 48- 9) .

30 Claud i o L omn i t z , “Nationa l ism a s a Pra cti ca l Sy stem : B en e d i ct An d er s on’s The or y of Nati ona l i sm f rom the Vanta g e Po int o f Sp an is h Am erica” in C. L omn itz , D e e p Me xi co , S il e nt Me xi co : An Anthrop ol og y o f National ism (Minn e ap o l is : Un i ver s it y of Minn e sota Press, 2001 ) 7.

31 S e e, am ong st many o thers , h is National ism and Mo d e r nism ( L on don : R outle d g e , 1 9 98) an d Myths a nd Me mor i es o f the Nation ( Ox ford : Ox ford Un i ver si t y Pre ss, 1 9 9 9) .

32 Anthony Sm ith, Nati on ali sm a nd Mod e rnism (L ondon : R outl e d g e, 2 0 0 4 ) 1 3 6 .

33 Hom i Bha b ha , “Intro du cti on : Narrating th e Nati on ,” Nati on and Narrati on, e d . H . Bhab ha (L on d on : R outle d g e, 1 9 90) .

34 Imag ined Comm unities, 3rd e d . 22 7 .

35 Anthony Sm ith, Nati on ali sm a nd Mod e rnism.

36 Sm ith, National ism and Mo d e r ni sm 1 30 ; Ph i l ip Sp enc er and Howard Wo l lman, Nation ali sm : A Cr itic al Intro duc ti on ( L ondon : Sa g e , 2 0 02) c hapter 2 .

37 Ander son, L ang uag e and Po w e r 1 4.

38 Anders on, Im ag i ned Communiti es 36 -3 8 .

39 Ander son, Im ag i ned Communiti es 38-39 .

40 Th i s re lations h ip is ana lys e d in som e d e ta i l by Mar tin Jay in The D i al e c ti c al Imag ination ; A Hi stor y of the Frankf urt S chool ( B oston : L ittle Brown , 19 7 3 ) . S e e esp e ci a l ly 19 7- 212.

41 S e e S cho lem’s a c c o unt o f the ir f ri en d s h ip an d p o l i ti ca l d i sa g re em ents in h i s Walte r B e nj a mi n (Ne w York : Ne w York R e vie w o f B o o k s Cla ss i c s, 2 00 3 ) .

42 Par ti cu larl y in the n inth th es i s wi th i ts e xtraord inar y use of a p a inting by Kle e, dep i cting ( in B enjam in’s m ind ) the ang el o f h istor y, with staring e y e s an d an op en m outh g a z ing at a vi o l ent storm , a su c c essi on o f cata strop h es wh i ch p i l e up de bri s h i g h er an d h i g her. “ Th is storm i s what we ca l l pro g re ss” ( Wa lter B enj am in , “ Thes e s on th e Ph i lo sop hy o f Histor y,” Illumin ations, e d . Hanna h Aren dt [ L on d on : Fontana , 19 73 ] 259- 260) . W hate ver e l s e And er s on th in k s o f nationa l ism, it i s c le arl y n o t a s a suc c e ss ion o f cata strop h e s .

43 Imag i ned Comm unities, 3rd e d . 20 9 .

44 Pathra Chatter j e e, “ Wh o se Ima g ine d C ommun it y ? ” Mapp ing the Nati on, e d . G . Ba la kri shnan ( L on d on : Ver s o, 199 6 ) .

45 ibi d.

46 Par tha Chatter j e e, D e l h i L e cture < http :/ / www. g lo b a lc u lt.or g .ve /d o c /Par tha / Par tha _1.p df> [ac c esse d 22/ 2/ 0 7 ].

47 S e e f or e x amp le R ana jit Gu ha , e d . , A Subalte rn S tu dies Rea d e r, 1 9 86 - 1 9 9 5

( Minne ap o l i s : Un iver s it y of Minn es ota Pre ss , 1 9 97 ) .

48 And erson, L ang uag e a nd Pow e r 7 .

49 B en Ki ernan, The Pol Pot Reg ime – R ace , Powe r, a nd Ge nocid e in Ca mbo di a un d e r the

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T H E I N FLU E N C E O F B E N E D I C T A N D E R S O N

Khme r Roug e, 1 9 75-79 ( Ne w Haven : Ya le Un i ver s i t y Press, 1 996 ) .

5

5

0 Ander son, Im ag ined Comm uniti es 1 4 9.

1 ibi d chapter 8 p a ss im .

5 2 Am ong Mar xi sts by f or examp le Etienn e Ba l ib ar. S e e e sp e c i a l ly the s e t of e ss ays, a l so pub l ish e d by Ver so , wri tten wi th Immanu el Wa l ler stein , R ace , Nati on , Cl a s s : Amb i g uo u s Id e ntiti es ( 1991) . A more re c ent critiqu e of th i s d istincti on may b e f o un d in Pau l Gi lroy ’s Agai nst R ace : Im ag i ni ng Politi cal Cul tures B e yond the Col or Li ne ( Cambrid g e , Ma ss . : B el knap Pre ss , 200 0 ).

53 As R o b er t Mile s p o ints out , raci sm an d nati ona l ism were ent win e d in the i d e a s of n ine te enth c entur y id e o lo g u es su ch a s Kn ox an d G o b in e au (R o b er t Mil es , “ Nati ona l ism and R ac ism : Antith e si s and Ar ti cu lati on” in R o b er t Mi l e s , R a c ism a fte r R a ce R el ati ons [ L ond on : R o utl e d g e , 1 98 3 ]) .

54 Claud io L omn it z , “Nationa l i sm a s a Prac ti ca l Sy stem : B en e d ic t And er s on’s Th e or y o f

Nati ona l ism from the Vanta g e Po int o f Sp an is h Am erica” in C. L omn i tz , Dee p Me xico S il e nt Me xi co : An Anthropol o g y o f Nationali sm ( Minneap o l is : Un i vers it y o f Minne so ta Press, 2001 ) 33.

5

5

5

5 S e e Sp enc er and Wo l l man , op. cit .

6 Ander son, Im ag ined Comm uniti es (1 9 91 ) 14 1 - 2.

7 G op a l Ba la kris hnan, “ Th e Nati ona l ist Ima g inati on ,” Ma pp i ng the Nati on

2 0