Summary of Imagined Communities

Imagined Communities

          The concept of nationalism, according to Benedict Anderson, has never been deeply discussed. There has never been a great thinker treating this concept as thoroughly as other concepts. Anderson suggests that one should not think of nationalism as an ideology like “fascism” or “liberalism”, but to relate it with “kinship” and “religion” in order to understand the similarity that groups of people have and why the territory that they live help one understand the borders that we have nowadays.
          In order to understand better the concept of nationalism, Anderson starts analyzing the word that is the root of nationalism, which is the word nation. Anderson, then, defines it as “…an imagined political community” that is imagined in both limitation and sovereignty. Anderson uses the word imagined to define nation, because he affirms that even the people from a small community, will not know everyone from that community, or meet them or even hear about them. The people from this same community will, however, keep in their minds the idea of what they have in common and imagine a common community between them. Anderson goes on and quotes Gellner, who states that “Nationalism is not the awakening of nations to self-consciousness: it invents nations where they do not exist.” This is important to know, because it makes clearer the idea that a nation, and more specifically, nationalism, are concepts created based on borders that were not previously there and similarities that made people to join one another to become nationalistic, but even though they had common practices, religion or similar territories, they were not necessarily the same group of people. The differences between groups that have little territorial distance from one another were many times forgotten and people started to consider themselves part of the same culture and territory. People became part of the same so called “nation”.
          Benedict Anderson goes on...