what does benedict anderson mean by calling a nation an imagined community

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Essay question

What does Benedict Anderson mean by calling a nation an “imagined community”? How does such a conception come into being, according to Anderson? How useful or persuasive do you find his account?

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Essay Requirements

1. Must be familiar with Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities

2. Essay should be 5-6 pages (double-spaced). Any reference style is acceptable as long as it is consistent. Always give references for direct quotes, as well as for information or evidence that you draw upon, and for particular opinions or approaches that you discuss.

3. The question, as given here, should be the title of the essay and written out at the top of essay. The essay should be an answer to the question exactly as set.

4. Use specific examples – refer to particular nations or nation-states and discuss them to illustrate your answer.


1. There is a brief but useful summary of the argument of Imagined Communities in the book by Umut Ozkirimli, Theories of Nationalism (3rd edition) , pp.114-112. Maybe you can find it online.

2. Please read the first three chapters carefully – “Introduction”, “Cultural Roots”, “The Origins of National Consciousness.” I think they are very important to answer the questions: what is meant by saying that the nation is an “imagined community”? How and why did the nation come to be seen in this way? In what ways does this concept differ from other concepts of the nation?

3. Chapter 7-9 (“The Last Wave”, “Patriotism and Racism”, “The Angel of History”) are also very important.

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