The Importance of Imagined Communities – and Benedict Anderson

  • Craig Calhoun LSE- London School of Economics and Political Science


Benedict Anderson’s remarkable book Imagined Communities reshaped
the study of nations and nationalism. Strikingly original, it broke
with previous over-emphasis on the European continent and falsely
polarized arguments as to whether nations were always already
in existence or mere epiphenomena of modern states. Imagined
Communities stimulated attention to the dynamics of socially and
culturally organized imagination as processes at the heart of political
culture, self-understanding and solidarity. This has an influence beyond
the study of nationalism as a major innovation in understanding
‘social imaginaries’. Anderson’s approach, however, maintained
strong emphases on material conditions that shape culture, and on
institutions that facilitate its reproduction — from newspapers and
novels to censuses, maps, and museums.


Com citar
Calhoun, C. (2017) “The Importance of Imagined Communities – and Benedict Anderson”, Debats. Revista de cultura, poder i societat, 10. Available at: (Accessed: 18April2021).