Inequality According To Benedict Anderson Ethnicity & Nationalism

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Short reflective response page . A page response on Benedict Anderson. Ethnicity and Nationalism. From the Ethnicity Reader, ed. By Montserrat Guibernau and John Rex, (pp. 43-51)

The page response should include one page answering :

what the reading tells us about structures of inequality?

**Please use the reading and highlight key points to answer the question on the paper**

Easy vocabulary.

Do not summarize reading, its more of like what you got from the reading and what it reminds you at the present day or past so please relate it to other people or historic events or current social issues in the U.S(current events).


I will provide the pdf file of the textbook. Make sure you do the right chapter.

42 Thomas Hylland Eriksen Moerman, Michael (1965), 'Who are the Lue?: Ethnic identification in a complex civilization'. American Anthropologist, vol. 67, pp. 1215-29. Nairn, Tom (1977), The Break-up of Britain. London: New Left Books. Smith, M. G. (1965), The Plural Society of the British West Indies. London: Sangster's. [.. .J Nationality, or, as one might prefer to put it in view of that word's multiple significations, nation-ness, as well as nationalism, are cultural artefacts of a particular kind. To understand them properly we need to consider carefully how they have come into historical being, in what ways their meanings have changed over time, and why, today, they command such profound emotional legitimacy. I will be trying to argue that the creation of these artefacts towards the end of the eighteenth century was the spontaneous distillation of a complex 'crossing' of discrete historical forces; but that, once created, they became 'modular', capable of being transplanted, with varying degrees of selfconsciousness, to a great variety of social terrains, to merge and be merged with a correspondingly wide variety of political and ideological constellations. I will also attempt to show why these particular cultural artefacts have aroused such deep attachments. CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONS Before addressing the questions raised above, it seems advisable to consider briefly the concept of 'nation' and offer a workable definition. Theorists of nationalism have often been perplexed, not to say irritated, by these three paradoxes: 44 Benedict Anderson 1 The objective modernity of nations to the historian's eye vs. their subjective antiquity in the eyes of nationalists; 2 The formal universality of nationality as a socio-cultural concept - in the modern world everyone can, should, will 'have' a nationality, as he or she 'has' a gender- vs. the irremediable particularity of its concrete manifestations, such that, by definition, 'Greek' nationality is sui generis; 3 The 'political' power of nationalisms vs. their philosophical poverty and even incoherence. In other words, unlike most other -isms, nationalism has never produced its own grand thinkers: no Hobbeses, Tocquevilles, Marxes or Webers. This 'emptiness' easily gives rise, among cosmopolitan and poly lingual intellectuals, to a certain condescension. Like Gertrude Stein in the face of Oakland, one can rather quickly conclude that there is 'no there there'. It is characteristic that even so sympathetic a student of nationalism as Tom Nairn can nonetheless write that: "'Nationalism" is the pathology of modern developinental history, as inescapable as "neurosis" in the individual, with much the same essential ambiguity attaching to it, a similar built-in capacity for descent into dementia, rooted in the dilemmas of helplessness thrust upon most of the world (the equivalent of infantilism for societies) and largely incurable' (Nairn 1977: 359). Part of the difficulty is that one tends unconsciously to hypostasize the existence of Nationalism-with-a-big-N - rather as one might Age-with-acapital-A - and and then to classify 'it' as an ideology. (Note that if everyone has an age, Age is merely an analytical expression.) It would, I think, make things easier if one treated it as if it belonged with 'kinship' and 'religion' rather than with 'liberalism' or 'fascism'. In an anthropological spirit, then, I propose the following definition of the nation: it is an imagined political community - and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign. It is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion. Renan referred to this imagining in his suavely back-handed way when he wrote that ' Or l'essence d'une nation est que tous les individus aient beaucoup de choses en commun, et aussi que tous aient oublie bien des choses' (Renan 1947: 892). With a certain ferocity Gellner makes a comparable point when he rules that 'Nationalism is not the awakening of nations to selfconsciousness: it invents nations where they do not exist' (Gellner 1964: 169). The drawback to this formulation, however, is that Gellner is so anxious to show that nationalism masquerades under false pretences that he assimilates 'invention' to 'fabrication' and 'falsity' rather than to 'imagining' and 'creation'. In this way he implies that 'true' communities exist which can be advantageously juxtaposed to nations. In fact, all communities larger than primordial villages of face-to-face contact (and perhaps even these) are imagined. Communities are to be distinguished, The origins of national consciousness not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined. Javanese villagers have always known that they are connected to people they have never seen, but these ties were once imagined particularistically as indefinitely stretchable nets of kinship and clientship. Until quite recently, the Javanese language had no word meaning the abstraction 'society'. We may today think of the French aristocracy of the ancien regime as a class; but surely it was imagined this way only very late. To the question 'Who is the Comte de X?' the normal answer would have been not 'a member of the aristocracy' but 'the lord of X', 'the uncle of the Baronne de Y' or 'a client of the Duc de Z'. The nation is imagined as limited because even the largest of them, encompassing perhaps a billion living human beings, has finite, if elastic, boundaries, beyond which lie other nations. No nation imagines itself coterminous with mankind. The most messianic nationalists do not dream of a day when all the members of the human race will join their nation in the way that it was possible, in certain epochs, for, say, Christians to dream of a wholly Christian planet. It is imagined as sovereign because the concept was born in an age in which Enlightenment and Revolution ;"ere destroying the legitimacy of the divinely ordained, hierarchical dynastic realm. Coming to maturity at a stage of human history when even the most devout adherents of any universal religion were inescapably confronted with the living pluralism of such religions, and the allomorphism between each faith's ontological claims and territorial stretch, nations dream of being free, and, if under God, directly so. The gage and emblem of this freedom is the sovereign state. Finally, it is imagined as a community because, regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship. Ultimately it is this fraternity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries, for so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willingly to die for such limited imaginings. These deaths bring us abruptly face to face with the central problem posed by nationalism: what makes the shrunken imaginings of recent history (scarcely more than two centuries) generate such colossal sacrifices? I believe that the beginnings of an answer lie in the cultural roots of nationalism. THE ORIGINS OF NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS If the development of print-as-commodity is the key to the generation of wholly new ideas of simultaneity, still, we are simply at the point where communities of the type 'horizontal-secular, transverse-time' become possible. Why, within that type, did the nation become so popular? The factors involved are obviously complex and various. But a strong case can be made for the primacy of capitalism. At least 20 million books had already been printed by 1500, signalling 46 Benedict Anderson the onset of Benjamin's 'age of mechanical reproduction'. If manuscript knowledge was scarce and arcane lore, print knowledge lived by reproducibility and dissemination. If, as Febvre and Martin believe, possibly as many as 200 million volumes had been manufactured by 1600, it is no wonder that Francis Bacon believed that print had changed 'the appearance and state of the world'. One of the earlier forms of capitalist enterprise, book publishing felt all of capitalism's restless search for markets. The early printers established branches all over Europe: 'in this way a veritable "international" of publishing houses, which ignored national [sic] frontiers, was created' (Febvre and Martin 1976: 122). And since the years 1500--1550 were a period of exceptional European prosperity, publishing shared in the general boom. More than at any other time it was a great industry under the control of wealthy capitalists. Naturally, booksellers were primarily concerned to make a profit and to sell their products, and consequently they sought out first and foremost those works which were of interest to the largest possible number of their contemporaries. The initial market was literate Europe, a wide but thin stratum of Latinreaders. Saturation of this market took about 150 years. The determinative fact about Latin - aside from its sacrality - was that it was a language of bilinguals. Relatively few were born to speak it and even fewer, one imagines, dreamed in it. In the sixteenth century the proportion of bilinguals within the total population of Europe was quite small; very likely no larger than the proportion in the world's population today, and - proletarian internationalism notwithstanding - in the centuries to come. Then and now the vast bulk of mankind is monoglot. The logic of capitalism thus meant that once the elite Latin market was saturated, the potentially huge markets represented by the monoglot masses would beckon. To be sure, the Counter-Reformation encouraged a temporary resurgence of Latin publishing, but by the mid-seventeenth century the movement was in decay, and fervently Catholic libraries replete. Meanwhile, a Europe-wide shortage of money made printers think more and more of peddling cheap editions in the vernaculars. The revolutionary vernacularizing thrust of capitalism was given further impetus by three extraneous factors, two of which contributed directly to the rise of national"consciousness. The first, and ultimately the least important, was a change in the character of Latin itself. Thanks to the labours of the Humanists in reviving the broad literature of pre-Christian antiquity and spreading it through the print market, a new appreciation of the sophisticated stylistic achievements of the ancients was apparent among the trans-European intelligentsia. The Latin they now aspired to write became more and more Ciceronian, and, by the same token, increasingly removed from ecclesiastical and everyday life. In this way it acquired an esoteric quality quite different from that of Church Latin in medieval times. For the older Latin was not arcane because of its subject-matter or style, but simply because it was written at all, i.e. because of its status as text. Now it became arcane because of what was written, because of the language-in-itself. The origins of national consciousness Second was the impact of the Reformation, which, at the same time, owed much of its success to print capitalism. Before the age of print, Rome easily won every war against heresy in western Europe because it always had better internal lines of communication than its challengers. But when in 1517 Martin ~uther nailed his theses to the chapel door in Wittenberg, they were printed up In German translation, and within fifteen days [had been] seen in every part of the country. In the two decades 1520-40 three times as many books were pub!ished in .German as in the period 1500--1520, an astonishing transformatIon to which Luther was absolutely central. His works represented no less than one third of all German-language books sold between 1518 and 1525. Between 1522 and 1546, a total of 430 editions (whole or partial) of his biblical translations appeared. [. . .] In effect, Luther became the first best-selling author so known. Or, to put it another way, the first writer who could 'sell' his new books on the basis of his name. Where Luther led, others quickly followed, opening the colossal religious propaganda war that raged across Europe for the next century. In this titanic 'battle for men's minds', Protestantism was always fundamentally on the offensive, pre~isely because. it knew how to make use of the expanding vernacular pnnt market beIng created by capitalism, while the CounterReformation defended the citadel of Latin. The emblem for this is the Vatican's Index Librorum Prohibitorum - to which there was no Protestant counterpart - a novel catalogue made necessary by the sheer volume of printed subversion. Nothing gives a better sense of this siege mentality than Fran~ois I's panicked 1535. ban on the printing of any books in his realm - on pain of death by hangIn~! The reason for both the ban and its unenforceability was that by then his realm's eastern borders were ringed with Protestant states and cities producing a massive stream of smugglable print. To take Calvin's Geneva alone: between 1533 and 1540 only forty-two editions were published there, but the numbers swelled to 527 between 1550 and 1564, by which l~tter date no fewer than forty separate printing presses were working overtIme. The co~~on betv:'een Protestantism and print capitalism, exploiting cheap popular edmons, qUlckly created large new reading publics - not least among merchants and women, who typically knew little or no Latin - and simultaneously mobilized them for politico-religious purposes. Inevitably, it was not merely the Church that was shaken to its core. The same earthquake produced Europe's first important non-dynastic, non-city states in the Dutch Republic and the Commonwealth of the Puritans. (Fran~ois I's panic was as much political as religious.) ~hird was the slow, geographically uneven, spread of particular vernaculars as Instruments of administrative centralization by certain well-positioned would-be absolutist monarchs. Here it is useful to remember that the universali~ of Latin in medieval western Europe never corresponded to a universal pohucal system. The contrast with Imperial China, where the reach of the 48 Benedict Anderson mand~rinal bureaucracy and of painted characters largely coincided, is instructIve. In effect, the political fragmentation of western Europe after the coll.apse of the ~es~ern Empire meant that no sovereign could monopolize LatIn and make It his-and-only-his language-of-state, and thus Latin's religious authority never had a true political analogue. . The birth of ad~strative vernaculars pre-dated both print and the reli~?~S upheaval o~ the sIxteenth century, and musttherefore be·regarded (atleast InltIally) .as an mdepend~nt factor. in the erosion of the sacred imagined c?mmuruty. At the same tIme, nothing suggests that any deep-seated ideologJcal, let alone proto-national, impulses underlay this vernacularization where it occurre~. The case of 'England' - on the north-western periphery of Latin Europe - IS here especially enlightening. Prior to the Norman Conquest, the language of the court, literary and administrative, was Anglo-Saxon. For the next century and a half virtually all royal documents were composed in Latin. Between about 1200 and 1350 this 'state' Latin was superseded by Norman Fr~nch. In the mean time, a slow fusion between this language of a foreign rulIn~ class and .the Angl?-Sax~n of the subject population produced Early English. The fuSIOn made It pOSSIble for the new language to take its turn, after 1362,. as the language of the courts - and for the opening of parliament. Wycliffe's vernacular manuscript Bible followed in 1382. It is essential to bear in mind that this sequence was a series of 'state', not 'national', languages; and that the state concern~d covered at various times not only today's England and Wales, but also poZ:IOns of, Scotland and France. Obviously, huge elements of the subject populatIons knew little or nothing of Latin, Norman Fre~~h, or Early English. Not until almost a century after Early English's polItIcal enthronement was London's power swept out of 'France'. On the Seine, a similar movement took place, if at a slower pace. As Bloch wrily puts it, 'French, that is to say a language which, since it was regarded as ~er~ly ;- corrupt form of Latin, took several centuries to raise itself to literary ~lg~.Ity. (Bloch 1961: 98), only became the official language of the courts of JustIce In 1539, when Fran~ois I issued the Edict of Villers-Cotterets (SetonWatson 1977: 48). In other dynastic realms Latin survived much longer-under the Habsburgs well i-?to th~ nineteenth century. In still others, 'foreign' vernaculars took over: In the eIghteenth century the languages of the Romanov court were French and German. .In every inst~nce, the 'choice' of language appears as a gradual, unselfconS~IOuS, pragmatIc, not to say haphazard development. As such, it was utterly different from the selfconscious language policies pursued by nineteenthce.ntury dynasts c~nfronted with the rise of hostile popular linguistic-nationalisms: One clear SIgn of the difference is that the old administrative languages were Just that: languages used by and for officialdoms for their own inner conveni,ence .. There w~s no idea of ~ystematically imposing the language on the dynasts vanous subject populatIOns. Nonetheless, the elevation of these vernaculars to the status oflanguages-of-power, where, in one sense, they were The origins of national consciousness competitors with Latin (French in Paris, [Early] English in London), made its own contribution to the decline of the imagined community of Christendom. At bottom, it is likely that the esotericization of Latin, the Reformation, and the haphazard development of administrative vernaculars are significant, in the present context, primarily in a negative sense - in their contributions to the dethronement of Latin and the erosion of the sacred community of Christendom. It is quite possible to conceive of the emergence of the new imagined national communities without anyone, perhaps all, of them being present. What, in a positive sense, made the new communities imaginable was a halffortuitous, but explosive, interaction between a system of production and productive relations (capitalism), a technology of communications (print), and the fatality of human linguistic diversity. The element of fatality is essential. For whatever superhuman feats capitalism was capable of, it found in death and languages two tenacious adversaries. Particular languages can die or be wiped out, but there was and is no possibility of man's general linguistic unification. Yet this mutual incomprehensibility was historically of only slight importance until capitalism and print created monoglot mass reading publics. While it is essential to keep in mind an idea offatality, in the sense of a general condition of irremediable linguistic diversity, it would be a mistake to equate this fatality with that common element in nationalist ideologies which stresses the primordial fatality of particular languages and their association with particular territorial units. The essential thing is the interplay between fatality, technology and capitalism. In pre-print Europe, and, of course, elsewhere in the world, the diversity of spoken languages, those languages that for their speakers were (and are) the warp and woof of their lives, was immense; so immense, indeed, that had print capitalism sought to exploit each potential oral vernacular market, it would have remained a capitalism of petty proportions. But these varied idiolects were capable of being assembled, within definite limits, into print-languages far fewer in number. The very arbitrariness of any system of signs for sounds facilitated the assembling process. (At the same time, the more ideographic the signs, the vaster the potential assembling zone. One can detect a sort of descending hierarchy here from algebra through Chinese and English, to the regular syllabaries of French or Indonesian.) Nothing served to 'assemble' related vernaculars more than capitalism, which, within the limits imposed by grammars and syntaxes, created mechanically reproduced print-languages, capable of dissemination through the market. These print-languages laid the bases for national consciousnesses in three distinct ways. First and foremost, they created unified fields of exchange and communications below Latin and above the spoken vernaculars. Speakers of the huge variety of Frenches, Englishes or Spanishes, who might find it difficult or even impossible to understand one another in conversation, became capable of comprehending one another via print and paper. In the process, they gradually became aware of the hundreds of thousands, even millions, of people 50 The origins of national consciousness Benedict Anderson in their particular language-field, and atthe same time that only those hundreds of thousands, or millions, so belonged. These fellow-readers, to whom they were connected through print, formed, in their secular, particular, visible invisibility, the embryo of the nationally imagined community. Second, print capitalism gave a new fixity to language, which in the long run helped to build that image of antiquity so central to the subjective idea of the nation. As Febvre and Martin remind us, the printed book kept a permanent form, capable of virtually infinite reproduction, temporally and spatially. It was no longer subject to the individualizing and 'unconsciously modernizing' habits of monastic scribes. Thus, while twelfth-century French differed markedly from that written by Villon in the fifteenth, the rate of change slowed decisively in the sixteenth. 'By the 17th century languages in Europe had generally assumed their modern forms' (Febvre and Martin 1976: 319). To put it another way, for now three centuries these stabilized print-languages have been gathering a darkening varnish; the words of our seventeenth-century forebears are accessible to us in a way that his twelfth-century ancestors were not to Villon. Third, print capitalism created languages-of-power of a kind different from the older administrative vernaculars. Certain dialects inevitably were 'closer' to each print-language and dominated their final forms. Their disadvantaged cousins, still assimilable to the emerging print-language, lost caste, above all because they were unsuccessful (or only relatively successful) in insisting on their own printform. 'North-western German' became Platt Deutsch, a largely spoken, thus substandard German, because it was assimilable to print-German in a way that Bohemian spoken Czech was not. High German, the King's English, and, later, Central Thai, were correspondingly elevated to a new politico-cultural eminence. (Hence the struggles in late twentieth-century Europe for certain 'sub-'nationalities to change their subordinate status by breaking firmly into print - and radio.) It remains only to emphasize that in their origins, the fixing of printlanguages and the differentiation of status between them were largely unselfconscious processes resulting from the explosive interaction between capitalism, technology and human linguistic diversity. But as with so much else in the history of nationalism, once 'there', they could become formal models to be imitated, and, where expedient, consciously exploited in a Machiavellian spirit. Today, the Thai government actively discourages attempts by foreign missionaries to provide its hill-tribe minorities with their own transcription-systems and to develop publications in their own languages: the same government is largely indifferent to what these minorities speak. The fate of the Turkicspeaking peoples in the zones incorporated into today's Turkey, Iran, Iraq and the [former] USSR is especially exemplary. A family of spoken languages, once everywhere assemblable, thus comprehensible, within an Arabic orthography, has lost that unity as a result of conscious manipulations. To heighten Turkish-Turkey'S national consciousness at the expense of any wider Islamic identification, Atatiirk imposed compulsory romanization. The Soviet authorities followed suit, first with an anti-Islamic, anti-Persian compulsory romanization, then, in Stalin's 1930s, with a Russifying compulsory Cyrillicization. We can summarize the conclusions to be drawn from the argument thus far by saying that the convergence of capitalism and print technology on the fatal diversity of human language created the possibility of a new form of imagined community, which in its basic morphology set the stage for the modern nation. The potential stretch of these communities was inherently limited, and, at the same time, bore none but the most fortuitous relationship to existing political boundaries (which were, on the whole, the highwater marks of dynastic expansionisms ). Yet it is obvious that while today almost all modern self-conceived nations - and also nation states - have 'national print-languages', many of them have these languages in common, and in others only a tiny fraction of the population 'uses' the national language in conversation or on paper. The nation states of Spanish America or those of the' Anglo-Saxon family' are conspicuous examples of the first outcome; many ex-colonial states, particularly in Africa, of the second. In other words, the concrete formation of contemporary nation states is by no means isomorphic with the determinate reach of particular printlanguages. To account for the discontinuity-in-connectedness between printlanguages, national consciousnesses and nation states, it is necessary to turn to the large cluster of new political entities that sprang up in the Western hemisphere between 1776 and 1838, all of which selfconsciously defined themselves as nations, and, with the interesting exception of Brazil, as (nondynastic) republics. For not only were they historically the first such states to emerge on the world stage, and therefore inevitably provided the first real models of what such states should 'look like', but their numbers and contemporary births offer fruitful ground for comparative enquiry. REFERENCES Bloch, Marc (1961), Feudal Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (2 vols, translated by I. A. Manyon). Febvre, Lucien, and Henri-Jean Martin (1976), The Coming of the Book. The Impact of Printing, 1450-1800. London: New Left Books (translation of L 'Apparition du livre. Paris: Albin Michel. 1958). Gellner, Ernest (1964), Thought and Change. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson. Nairn, Tom (1977), The Break-up of Britain. London: New Left Books. Renan, Ernest (1947-61), 'Qu'est-ce qu'une nation?' In Oeuvres Completes. Paris: Calmann-Levy, vol. I, pp. 887- 906. Seton-Watson, Hugh (1977), Nations and States. An Enquiry into the Origins of Nations and the Politics of Nationalism. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.

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Reflection on Inequality according to ‘Benedict Anderson. Ethnicity and Nationalism.
From the Ethnicity Reader, ed’ By Montserrat Guibernau and John Rex, (pp. 43-51)
Montserrat and John view inequality through the lens of ethnicity and nationalism. The
authors apply the combined concepts to form his discourse on how inequality has contributed to
their prevalence in the modern world contrary to the a...

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