Anderson's utopia

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Anderson's Utopia Author(s): Partha Chatterjee Source: Diacritics, Vol. 29, No. 4, Grounds of Comparison: Around the Work of Benedic Anderson (Winter, 1999), pp. 128-134 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1566381 . Accessed: 24/10/2011 07:57
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ANDERSON'S UTOPIA
PARTHA CHATTERJEE
influential one booksofthelate Communities without was, doubt, ofthemost Imagined came Intheyears sinceitwaspublished, nationalism as twentieth century. unexpectedly inworld and tobe regarded an increasingly asunresolvable often "problem" dangerous has to on Benedict Anderson continued analyzeandreflect thesubject, affairs, adding newessaysand several acclaimed bookandwriting twobrilliant to chapters hishighly a of havebeenbrought lectures. Someofthese alongwith series essayson the together, The of in TheSpectre Comparisons. publication andpolitics Southeast Asia, of history in an for scholars thefieldtoreassessthe of thisvolumeprovides opportunity other of intellectual ourtime. work andpaytribute a major of, to, 1 in has that the addition Anderson madeto his analysis Theoretically, mostsignificant nationalism thepoliand between is to Communitieshisattempt distinguish Imagined that two of He ticsofethnicity. does this identifying kinds seriality areproduced by by of of One themodemimaginingscommunity. is theunbound seriality theeveryday universals modemsocial thought: of bureaucrats, revolutionaries, nations, citizens, is of and intellectuals, so on. The other theboundseriality govemmentality: workers, census and classesofpopulation of thefinite totals enumerable by produced themodem and are serialities typically Unbound electoral themodem imagined narrated systems. and the of of namely,newspaper the bymeans theclassicinstrumentsprint-capitalism, of as to themselves members for afford opportunity individuals imagine the novel. They of of to of than face-to-face solidarities, solidarities, choosing actonbehalf those larger traditional thelimits an actofpolitical by pracimposed transcending by imagination As from are serialities potentially tices. Unbound Pramodeya quotesliberating. Anderson of describes sucha moment emancipawhich Toer'snovelDia Jang Ananta Menjerah, tionexperienced one ofitscharacters: by she She Is the By now, knew society was entering. hadfounda circleofacsisters parents. and She than circle herbrothers, the wider of far quaintances as in as a woman, a typist a in that a nowoccupied defined society: position a as She being, office, a freeindividual. hadbecome newhuman government new new tales to tell,newperspectives, attitudes, new understanding, with her to that newinterests-newnesses she managed pluckand assemble from in Spectre acquaintances. [qtd. 41] This that each can Boundserialities, contrast, operate onlywith integers. implies for by as can as one orzero,never a fracan ofclassification, individual count only category are out. to oraffiliationsa category ruled in means all partial mixed that which turn tion, never or tribal nottribal, One can onlybe blackor notblack,Muslimor notMuslim, are Anderson so. or suggests, constricting partially contextually Boundserialities, only thetoolsofethnic conflictual. andperhaps politics. Theyproduce inherently

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diacritics 29.4: 128-34

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