Ten years have been come over since the book of Benedict Anderson’s “Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism” has been translated in Russian, although by that time, this book has already become a textbook, recommended to students studying issues of nation and nationalism. And yet the concept of B. Anderson meets controversial discussion.
B. Anderson based his conception on the idea that the creation (not occurrence) of imagined communities was possible thanks to the so called “print-capitalism”, namely: printed products in local and regional languages instead of Latin for the purpose of obtaining a greater spreading and economic benefit has become the factor of successful communication between subjects speaking local dialects. As a result, a general discourse appeared into being. And B. Anderson described the process of creating the first European nation states as emerging around the “national print languages”.
The emergence of nationalism (and nation) was due to the abandonment of privileged access to written text. In other words, nation and nationalism were products of modernity, located in their political and economic context. This methodological turn supposed to consider the imagined communities as a form of social construction, coexisting with other “imaginary phenomena”, for example, an imaginary geography of Edward Said.
Has the concept been a revolution in the field of Social Sciences and Humanities? Do we overestimate the value of B. Anderson for our contemporary interdisciplinary research? Today, with hindsight, we try to look at the idea of Benedict Anderson and draw some conclusions.