Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism
This was the book I brought up during the group meeting yesterday in relation to some of the ideas Helen was thinking of. Private experiences, that are also shared experiences, and how that can form identities and relationships.
Here is an excerpt of a review of the book:
Historiography at its most Captivating, August 23, 2001
By Tanja Laden
Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson seeks to explain the seeds of what he terms "imagined communities," which are for the most part "nations". It is also a careful chronological account of how these seeds grew into actual policies through the breaking apart of the Latin language, the dissemination of mass-media into new ideas of national history, and ultimately how history and language served to preserve national identity. In the first chapter, "Cultural Roots," Anderson claims that the birth of the imagined community is directly linked to Industrialization and its two byproducts, the novel and the newspaper. The novel and the newspaper first made the public aware of simultaneous experiences that allowed them to conceive of themselves as not alone, but rather an entity that worked together. The concept of time as a linear, progressive notion was another result of Industrialization, and Anderson argues that this "calendrical" way of looking at the past was another important factor in imagined communities as it allows groups of people to think of a historic root in national identity.