States of Imagination: Nationalism, Citizenship and Multiculturalism in Writings From Australia and Southern Asia

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McLaren, John (2001) States of Imagination: Nationalism, Citizenship and Multiculturalism in Writings From Australia and Southern Asia. Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, Australia.

Abstract

Historians of nationalism agree that it is a modern phenomenon. Yet modernism, a product of the Enlightenment, is oriented to a future controlled by reason, whereas nationalism appeals to an emotional attachment to tradition. E.J.Hobsbawm suggests that this apparent contradiction can be resolved by understanding that, for liberals, nationalism represented a stage in the emancipation of humankind as we moved towards the universal and away from the ties of the local and irrational.1 This does not however accommodate his own observation that nationalism depends on "too much belief in what is patently not so" (p.12), or the observation of Benedict Anderson that nationalism is best understood not as an ideology but as an imagined community to which people belong.2 As we shall see, there have been places, like Scotland or Poland, where a particular nationalism based on language or religion has survived without state structures. More commonly, however, as Anderson explains, it has become an official ideology developed by movements in revolt against colonial powers and imposed by the rulers of successor states, particularly in Asia. In the post-colonial world, this is both its most common and its most troubled form.

Item type Book
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/369
ISBN 1875606912
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 220000 Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts-General
Historical > FOR Classification > 1903 Journalism and Professional Writing
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords nationalism; citizenship; multiculturalism; Australia; Southern Asia
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