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Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism

-Benedict Anderson

Contents
I. Introduction

II. Cultural Roots

III. The Origins of National Consciousness

IV. Creole Pioneers

Contents
V. Old Languages, New Models

VI. Official Nationalism and Imperialism

VII. The Last Wave

Contents
VIII. Patriotism and Racism

IX. The Angel of History

X. Census, Map, Museum

XI. Memory and Forgetting

Introduction
Aim:
To offer some tentative suggestions for a more satisfactory interpretation of the 'anomaly' of nationalism.

Topic:
Nationality, nation-ness, and nationalism

Concepts and Definition


Nation: It is an imagined political community that is imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign.

It is imagined because members will never know most of their fellow-members, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.
Introduction

Concepts and Definition


It is limited because it has finite, though elastic boundaries beyond which lies other nations. It is sovereign because it came to maturity at a stage of human history when freedom was a rare and precious ideal. It is imagined as a community because it is conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship.
Introduction

Cultural Roots
Changes in the following created the conditions under which nationalism may have emerged:

THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY


THE DYNASTIC REALM

APPREHENSIONS OF TIME

The Religious Community


Decline of belief that there is a sacred text that irrevocably embodies truth. Changes in the religious community gave rise to the belief that nationalism was a secular solution to the question of continuity that has been answered previously, by religious faith.
Cultural Roots

The Religious Community


Cause of the fall: Effect of the explorations of the nonEuropean world

Gradual demotion of the sacred language. Old sacred languages were fragmented, vernaculars gained popularity.
Cultural Roots

The Dynastic Realm


The principle of Legitimacy of sacral monarchy began its slow decline. Decline of the belief that society was naturally organized around and under high centers-monarchs who ruled under some form of cosmological dispensation or divine providence.
Cultural Roots

Apprehensions Of Time
The idea of a sociological organism moving calendrically through homogenous, empty time is a precise analogue of the idea of the nation, which also is conceived as a solid community moving steadily through history.

Cultural Roots

Two forms of imagining in Europe, 18th century: The Novel


The Newspaper

Provided technical means for representing the nation, an imagined community.

Cultural Roots

The Origins of National Consciousness


Cultural consciousness took the form of nationalism due to the interaction between:

a system of production and productive relations (capitalism)


a technology of communications (print) the fatality of human linguistic diversity

Capitalism
The expansion of the book market aided by: change in the character of Latin the impact of the Reformation, which led to the mass production of religious texts the spread of particular vernaculars as instruments of administrative centralization

The Origins of National Consciousness

Print
Print languages laid the foundation for national consciousness by: creating unified fields of exchange and communication

giving a new fixity to language


they created languages-of-power of a kind different from the older administrative vernaculars
The Origins of National Consciousness

Creole Pioneers
Creole States: communities that were formed and led by people who shared a common language and common descent with those against whom they fought. Creole (Criollo)- person of (at least theoretically) pure European descent but born anywhere outside Europe.

The first nations to conceive nation-ness were not in Western Europe but in Latin America in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Factors Of Latin American Nationalism


the tightening of control on creole communities Liberalism and the Enlightenment

Creole Pioneers

Factors
the improvement of trans-Atlantic communication the willingness of the ''comfortable classes'' to make sacrifices in the name of freedom creole functionaries pilgrimage provincial creole printmen and the rise of the newspaper
Creole Pioneers

Old Languages, New Models


Onset of the age of nationalism in Europe.

Two striking features:


National print-languages were of central ideological and political importance. the nation became something capable of being consciously aspired to from early on due to the ''models'' set forth by the Creole pioneers.

Vernacular print capitalism is important to class formation, particularly the rise of the bourgeoisie.
The nobility then were potential consumers of the philological revolution.

As soon as the events of the Americas reached the European nobility through print, the imagined realities of nation-states became models for Europe.
Old Languages, New Models

Official Nationalism and Imperialism


From about the middle of the 19th C there developed ''official nationalism'' in Europe.

The oligarchys prime models were the self naturalizing dynasties of Europe. Official nationalism concealed a discrepancy between nation and dynastic realm.
Official Nationalism and Imperialism

The Last Wave


The last wave of nationalism was the transformation of the colonial-state to the national state facilitated by:

increase in physical mobility


increasing bureaucratization

the spread of modern-style education


The Last Wave

Official nationalism brought the idea of ''national histories'' into the consciousness of the colonized. The Last Wave arose in a period of world history in which the nation was becoming an international norm and in which it became possible to ''model'' nationness in a more complex way than before.
The Last Wave

Patriotism and Racism


Nation came to be:
imagined modeled adapted transformed

Peoples attachment for the invention of their imagination, why they are ready to die for their inventions?
Patriotism and Racism

Nation-ness is ''natural'' in the sense that it contains something that is not chosen (much like gender, skin color, and parentage).
Nationalism thinks in terms of historical destinies, while racism dreams of eternal contaminations whose origins lie outside of history. Nation was conceived by language, not in blood.

Patriotism and Racism

The Angel of History


Nationalism has undergone a process of modulation and adaptation, according to different eras, political regimes, economies, and social structures. To limit or prevent wars, nationalism is the pathology of modern developmental history, do our slow best to learn the real, and imagine experience of the past.
The Angel of History

Census, Map, Museum


These three institutions of power profoundly shaped the way in which the colonial state imagined its dominion:

CENSUS
MAP

MUSEUM
Census, Map, Museum

CENSUS
Created ''identities'' imagined by the classifying mind of the colonial state The fiction of the census is that everyone is in it, and that everyone has one, and only one, extremely clear place.

Census, Map, Museum

MAP
Basis of a totalizing classification. Designed to demonstrate the antiquity of specific, tightly bounded territorial units.

Served as a logo, instantly recognizable and visible everywhere, that formed a powerful emblem for the anticolonial nationalism being born.
Census, Map, Museum

MUSEUM
Allowed the state to appear as the guardian of tradition, and this power was enhanced by the infinite reproducibility of the symbols of tradition

Census, Map, Museum

Memory and Forgetting


The 19th century imagining of fraternity, emerging naturally in a society fractured by the most violent racial, class and regional antagonism, show that nationalism represented a new form of consciousness. Selective 'historical' memory and forgetting is an integral part of nation creation.
Memory and Forgetting

Discussion Questions:
1. How do you understand nation as defined by Benedict Anderson? 2. What do you think is the significance in the decline of religious and dynastic influences in the rise of nationalism? 3. What do you think was the most powerful

factor that led to imaginings that produced a


community, called nation? 4. What is the role of racism in erasing nation-

ness and nationalism?