In his groundbreaking Imagined Communities, first published in 1983, Benedict Anderson argued that members of a community experience a "deep, horizontal camaraderie." Despite being strangers, members feel connected in a web of imagined experiences.
Yet while Anderson’s insights have been hugely influential, they remain abstract: it is difficult to imagine imagined communities. How do they evolve and how is membership constructed cognitively, socially and culturally? How do individuals and communities contribute to group formation through the act of imagining? And what is the glue that holds communities together?
Imagining Communities examines actual processes of experiencing the imagined community, exploring its emotive force in a number of case studies. Communal bonding is analysed, offering concrete insights on where and by whom the nation (or social group) is imagined and the role of individuals therein. Offering eleven empirical case studies, ranging from the premodern to the modern age, this volume looks at and beyond the nation and includes regional as well as transnational communities as well.
Gemma Blok is professor of modern history at the Open University of the Netherlands. Her research areas are the history of psychiatry, the history of addiction treatment and the social history of alcohol and drugs.
Vincent Kuitenbrouwer is assistant professor at the History Department of the University of Amsterdam. He is specialized in the history of modern imperialism with a particular focus on colonial media.
Claire Weeda works as an assistant professor at the History Department of Leiden University. She is specialized in ethnic identity, medicine, and community formation in the later Middle Ages.