ANTB20 Culture, Politics, & Globalization
Lecture 4 (Trans)-Nationalism and Imagined Communities
January 28, 2013
What is the nation?
-borders (imaginary vs. real) idea of a sovereign state, refers to how far there is a limit where it may extend to
-no physical boundary
-involves a sentiment, or feeling, attached to belonging
-if you think about nation and sentiment, it can relate to transnationalism that transcends borders
-form of organized government to administrate
-social construct, came into construction or cultural imagination over time
-narrative, a story that we tell ourselves about ourselves
-produced by us, but physical structures and monuments to represent what a nation is, monuments of those
who helped to found the nation or fight for the nation.
-the Canadian $20 bill has changed, what does it have to do with the representation of Canada now? It does
not naturally represent Canada, it represents the maple leaf, which is not from Canada, The old bill is a
proverb or saying from a French artist that says could we ever know other without the arts? Then it has a
statue of a person on a boat with different animals. Now it is the memorial/monument, signifying a war that
was fought that marks Canada’s independence. What is the significance of this- distinguishing ourselves from
our neighbors (America), part of that distinction is that we fought them. We have military might which
signifies political swagger. Canadian history involves certain narratives and certain myth making. There is a
myth or assumption that there is no racism in Canada. The story of Canada is changing and if you pay
attention it depends on the government at the present in power and how it comes to symbolize who we are to
the outside world.
-Ethiopia was supposed to be a guardian over Eritrea and meant to be autonomous. When Eritrea tried to
take over, there was a war between the two countries.
‘ it is imagined political community- and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign’ (p. 6)
Imagined: in the minds of each member lives the image of their communion. Imagined because it
does exist in the minds of the people who live there, it exists in each member through the idea of the
Nation cuts borders, which wraps those who live in the borders that they belong to a certain place,
and cuts others out who are apart of another nation.
Limited: even the largest nation has finite boundaries, beyond which lie other nations.
Sovereign: concept was born in age when the legitimacy of the divinely-ordained hierarchical
dynasty was being destroyed.
Community: regardless of actual inequalities and exploitation that prevail in a nation, it is conceived
as a deep, horizontal comradeship. Conceived is an important word. There is a horizontal
relationship of citizens that we belong to this place, we are all friends.
Nations are not ‘natural’ entities but products of cultural imagination. It is being forged and worked
at, and changes over time. the idea of Canadian as a nation has changed. What it is now is not what it
is 50 years ago. The nation continues to be built by the political community and leaders of the state.
How do you create loyalty, and a feeling of belonging, how do you feel different from another nation,
what creates this sentimentality. Standardization of uniformity that everyone comes out of the
education system having a shared experience. Canada is trying to become stronger by militarizing the nation, and funding more military devices.
Mass media (e.g. printed book, newspapers)
o Allows us to think what is happening through a cultural production (we are fighting a good
cause) Mass media tend to be quite one sided and biased.
Educational System (e.g. standardization, socialization)
o We are socialized with each other.
Army/ National Service (security/loyalty)
Campaigns and advertisements (knowledge)
o Organized campaigns and advertisements to tell you to be a certain kind of citizen.
There is a room for creativity and resistance, for revolt, and forms of taking it in and making it
What does nationalism do?
Maps cultures onto places (e.g. census categories/ ethnic-racial classifiers).
o Bio-politics is a way to categorize the population to manage and control the population, if
you do not know who is living within your orders how are you going to tax them or get them
to join the army, they need to be identified as a human being as a certain kind.
Within this space, cultural differences and hierarchies are inscribed (e.g. historical memory,
Places ‘others’ at the border of or outside national boundaries (e.g. newcomer, refugee, migrant).
Holds that disc