Nationalism Origin and Spread

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According to Anderson, the fusion of capitalism and print technology in a variety of different languages caused people to envision a new community that served as the cornerstone of the modern nation. The author also contends that creole printmakers had a crucial part in fostering a new national consciousness, which was influenced by liberalism, the enlightenment, and the lower socioeconomic position.

Anderson tries to provide an explanation for the history of national consciousness. He follows the development of nationalism to identify its origins.

What is the main question or question this author is trying to answer?

Anderson tries to answer the question of what was the origins of national consciousness. He follows the development of nationalism to identify its origins.

What is the author’s main argument?

The authors argues that in the capitalist society of the 1500 and 1600s, book-printing developed giving birth to enlightenment and liberalism. People became more aware of the capitalist oppression they were going through. Since this took place in a diversity of languages, the first creoles played a big role in birthing and spreading nationalism.

What important concepts and theories are presented?

The author presents the Marxist theory of capitalism and how it led to resistance from the lower classes. Enlightenment and liberalism birthed political revolution. The socio-economic basis to nationalism is discussed also, the cultural root to nationalism.

What relevance does this text have to the other readings for the week, or themes presented in this course?

This text furthers the previous reading on the introduction to the imagined communities (how nationalism was conceptualized). The previous reading discussed how the people’s conceptualization of the nation was imagined. This text then explains the cultural roots to the imagined communities (nationalism).

Does the author discuss an explicit methodology to answer their questions? If so, what?

The author explicitly mentions that his methodology is comparative enquiry. Although in chapter 3 he identifies capitalism, book-printing and enlightenment as the root to nationalism, he later wonders why it is the creole communities that were the first to develop their nation-ness (p.50).

Does the author effectively convey their argument? What are the weaknesses of the article/chapter? What are its strengths?

The author convincingly convey his argument. The main strength is in the way he evaluates each of the factors that contributes to national awareness and how it contributed to it. Its weakness could be that one may not pinpoint a single origin of nationalism.

Identify 2 questions for a class discussion

What factors played the greatest roles to nationalism – economic or cultural?

Does the same factors affect our notions of nationalism in the current times?

April 06, 2023

Economics Sociology



Subject area:

Capitalism Community Nation

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