Benedict Anderson’s imagined communities

William O. Beeman
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Table of contents

Benedict Anderson’s great work, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (Anderson 1983; hereafter IC) has been hailed as the “best known single work in nationalism studies” (Breuilly 2016: 625). His work has had an enormous impact throughout the social sciences. Much of Anderson’s formulation depends on observations about the importance of linguistics, communication, and standardization of language in community formation and identities. It is therefore paradoxical that few linguists have addressed Anderson’s work. Even rarer are discussions of the implications of Anderson’s work from the perspective of pragmatics. This essay is an attempt to begin an exploratory discussion of the many pragmatic issues raised by the concept of Imagined Communities as laid out in Anderson’s important work.

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