Summary of “Imagined Community”

想像的共同體---民族主義的起源和散佈

                                                        劉榮樺

 

1.      

全書的重點在於透過在印刷技術發達之後,歐洲的民族主義是如何興起,及在世界各地的發展情形。他認為民族主義是一想像的政治共同體,因此他認為的政治是人們所想像出來的一種彼此之間的關係,權力則掌握在控制人們想像的機構的統治者上。

2.他給予民族的定義為:一個想像的政治共同體,而這個想像本身具有內在的有限與統治。知所以為想像是因為即使在最小的民族也不是每一個人都認識彼此;之所以是有限的,是因為即使在最大的民族仍然也是存在著與其他民族的界限;之所以具有統治,是因為民族觀念是在啟蒙時代與法國大革命的年代所誕生的,而這二者破壞了君權神授、有階級的政治範圍。而之所以是一個共同體,是因為即使在其中有許多的不平等、剝削存在,民族仍然是被感知為一個深層、平面的同伴關係。

3.民族主義的興起和宗教共同體、王朝範圍有關。原本因為具有掌控唯一不可任意變動文字---拉丁文的教會,受到地理大發現的影響(relativism)與拉丁文本身文字的神聖性的衰弱(fragmented, pluralized and territorized),使得其神聖性減低。

4.小說和報紙在十八世紀的歐洲出現後,提供想像共同體(也就是民族)一種再現的技術,使得原本認為世界在時間軸上都是同時的,轉變為認為他們是處在具有同質的無時間差異的世界裡。由報紙所造成的想像的連結是來自兩個間接的來源,第一個是在報紙上的日期的一致性,另一個則是因為他到處都可以看到與他的報紙同樣內容的報紙也被他人閱讀著,再次將想像的世界根植於每天的日常生活中。

5.想像的民族的可能性的出現是因為三個古代的事物散失他們對於人們心靈的控制:(1)特定的書寫文字與真理之間的關係不在密切(2)不再相信社會是自然組織而成,並且被某些人所控制(3)不在相信宇宙觀與歷史是不可分。

6.印刷語言對於國家意識的興起有三個不同方式的影響:第一個是他們創造下層民眾與上層使用拉丁文者可以溝通的地方。第二個是創造一種新的固定的語言;第三個是印刷資本主義創造一種異於以往各地行政人員的權力的語言。

7.各地資本主義革命的推力來自外在三個因素:(1)最重要的是拉丁文本身的改變(2)第二個是宗教改革,這要歸功於印刷資本技術(3)特定地區的行政的中心化。

8.官方的民族主義:這是各地的統治階層受到民族想像共同體的的世界性推動的威脅下所產生出的。

9.特定教育體制的和行政的朝聖的互相連接提供一個新的想像共同體的領土基礎,在裡面的每一個人都可以把自己視為‘民族的’。

10.民族的想法幾乎都是巢居在印刷語言裡,而民族人是無法自政治覺醒分離開的。

11.最後一波的發生在亞洲與非洲的民族主義是對於因為工業資本主義所造成的新型態的全球帝國主義所做出的回應。

 

批評:作者透過對於歐洲因為印刷技術的發展與地理大發現,人們開始產生彼此是相對性的,並非如同在中古時期人們認為世界是有統一的性格,雖然有大部分的平民不識字,但是藉由識字階層與人們之間的互動關係,如利用唯一的拉丁文作為教會使用的文字等諸多有關的行為,人們建立起彼此是在同樣的時空中的,在宗教改革時,各地陸續出現印行當地語文的聖經,拉丁文原先所具有的獨特性被減弱,人們藉有印刷出來的文字(如報紙、小說)開始有了想像共同體。印刷文字並非全人等於各地的方言,相對的它是以一種近似方言的印刷文字出現,這樣就可以溝通上下階層。也正因為是透過印刷文字的溝通,許多原本距離很遠的事件,如法國大革命可以被記載下來,成為可學習的經驗。而官方的民族主義則是更進一步藉由教育與行政體制的朝聖之旅,將經驗給予集中化及標準化,在所謂的民族國家的規範下,透過如博物館的建立、戶口的調查和地圖的繪製,語言上的共同體也並不一定為形成的必要條件。很多原先存在於同一地域內的不同人群的衝突,可以任意被選擇記憶或遺忘,以幫助民族的想像共同體的出現。AndersonBloch一樣都認為語言有相當的控制力,但是Anderson強調的是印刷語言對於幫助想像共同體的產生,人們對於彼此的關係可以被統治者藉由對於塑造想像的媒介的控制而被宰制,這是否也意味所謂的政治本身沒有獨特性,政治只是被想像出來的關係?

 

 

1.Nation-ness is the most universally legitimate value in thepolitical life of our time.

 

2.Theorists of nationalism have often been perplexed, not to sayirritated, by these three paradoxes:

(a) The objective modernity of nations to the historian’s eyes vs.their subjective antiquity in the eyes of nationalists.

(b) The formal university of nationality as a socio-culturalconcept - in the modern world everyone can, should, will ‘ have ‘ anationality, as he or she ‘ has ‘ a gender- vs. the irremediable particularity ofits concrete manifestations, such that, by definition, ‘ Greek ‘ nationality issui generis.

(c) The ‘ political ‘ power of nationalisms vs. theirphilosophical poverty and even incoherence.

 

3.The definition of the nation: it is an imagined political community-and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign. It is imagined becausethe members of even the smallest nation will never know most of theirfellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each livesthe image of their communication.

 

4. The nation is imagined as limited because even the largest ofthem, encompassing perhaps a billion living human beings, has finite, ifelastic, boundaries, beyond which lie other nations.

 

5. It is imagined as sovereign because the concept was born in anage in which Enlightenment and Revolution were destroying the legitimacy of thedivinely-ordained, hierarchical dynastical realm.

 

6. It is imagined as community, because, regardless of the actualinequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is alwaysconceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship.

 

7.What make the shrunken imaginings of recently generate suchcolossal sacrifices? He believed that the beginnings of an answer lie in thecultural roots of nationalism. --- the cenotaphs and tombs of Unknown Soldiers.

 

8. Although in Western Europe the eighteenth century marks notonly the dawn of the age of nationalism but the dusk of religious modes ofthought, he did not consider nationalism “produced” or “supersedes” religion.What he proposed is that nationalism has to be understood by aligning it, notwith self-consciously held political ideologies, but with the large systemsthat proceeded it, out of which- as well as against which- it cam into being.For these purposes, the two relevant cultural systems are the religiouscommunity and the dynastic realm.

 

9. Classical communities (Islam, Christendom, Buddhist,Confucianism) linked by sacred languages had a character distinct from theimagined communities of modern nations. One crucial difference was the oldercommunities’ confidence in the unique sacredness of their languages, and thustheir ideas about admission and membership. But the illiterate occupied a largepopulation. A fuller explanation requires a glance at the relationship betweenthe literati and their societies.

 

 

10. These communities’ unique sacredness: (1) The effect of theexplorations of the non-European world, which mainly but by no meansexclusively in Europe ‘ abruptly widened the cultural and geographic horizonand hence also men’s conception of possible forms of human life’. (2) A gradualdemotion of the sacred language itself.

 

11. Dynastic Realm: In modern conception, state sovereignty isfully, flatly, and evenly operative over each square centimeters of a legallydemarcated territory. In the older imagining, where centres defined states,borders were porous and indistinct, and sovereignties faded imperceptibly intoone another.

 

12. Why make the mediaeval conception of simultaneity-along-timeto “homogeneous, empty time” ? Why this transformation should be so importantfor the birth of the imagined community of the nation can best be seen if weconsider the basic structure of two forms of imagining which first flowered inEurope in the eighteenth century: the novel and the newspaper. For these formsprovided the technical means for ‘re-presenting’ the kind of imagined communitythat is the nation.

 

13. The imagining linkage which made by newspaper derives from twoobliquely related sources:

(1) The first is simply calendrical coincidence. The date at thetop of the newspaper, the single most important emblem on it, provide theessential connection- the steady onward clocking of homogeneous, empty time.

(2)  the second source ofimagining linkage lies in the relationship between the newspaper, as a form ofbook, and the market. The book (newspaper is an extreme form of the book)At thesame time, the newspaper reader, observing exact replicas of his own paperbeing consumed by his subway, barbership, or residential neighbours, iscontinually reassured that the imagined world is visibly rooted in everydaylife.

 

14.The very possibility of imagining the nation only arosehistorically when, and where, three fundamental cultural conceptions, all ofgreat antiquity, lost their axiomatic grip on men’s minds.

(1) The idea that a particular script-language offered theprivileged access to the ontological truth, precisely because it was aninseparable part of that truth.

(2) The belief that society was naturally organized around andunder high centers - monarchs who were persons apart from other human beingsand who ruled by some form of cosmological (divine) dispensation.

(3) A conception of temporality in which cosmology and historywere indistinguishable, the origin of the world and of men essentiallyidentical.

 

15.Nothing perhaps more precipitated this search, nor made it morefruitful, than print-capitalism, which made it possible for rapidly growingnumbers of people to think about themselves, and to relate themselves toothers, in profoundly new ways.

 

16. If the development of print-as-commodity is the key to thegeneration of wholly new ideas of simultaneity, still, we are simply at thepoint where communities of the type ‘horizontal-secular. transverse-time’become possible. The primacy of capitalism made the nation become so popular.

 

17.The revolutionary vernacularizing thrust of capitalism wasgiven further impetus by three extraneous factors, two of which contributeddirectly to the rise of national consciousness:

(1) The first and the ultimately the least important, was a changein the character of Latin itself.

(2) Second was the impact of the Reformation, which, at the sametime, owed much of its success to print-capitalism.

(3) Third was the slow, geographically uneven, spread ofparticular vernaculars as instruments of administrative centralization bycertain well-positioned would-be absolutist monarchs.

 

18. The print-languages laid the bases for nationalconsciousnesses in three distinct ways:

(1) First and foremost, they created unified fieldsof exchange andcommunication below Latin and above the spoken vernaculars.

(2) Print-capitalism gave a new fixity to language, which in thelong run helped to build that image of antiquity so central to the subjectiveidea of the nation.

(3) Third, print-capitalism created languages-of-power of a kinddifferent from the older administrative vernaculars. Certain dialectsinevitably were ‘closer’ to each print-language and dominated their final form.

 

19. The convergence of capitalism and print technology on thefatal diversity of human language created the possibility of a new form ofimagined community, which in its basic morphology set the stage for the modernnation.

 

20. The newer nationalisms (between 1820-1920) which have twostriking features mark them off from their ancestors.

(1) In almost of them ‘national print-languages’ were of centralideological and political importance.

(2) All were able to work from visible models provided by theirdistant, and after the convulsions of the French Revolution, not so distant,predecessors. The ‘nation’ thus became something capable of being consciouslyaspired to from early on, rather than a slowly sharpening frame of vision.

 

21.’Official nationalism’: it is important to stress that themodel could be selfconsciously followed by states with no serious great powerpretensions, so long as they were states in which the ruling classes or leadingelements in them felt threatened by the world-wide spread of the nationally-imaginedcommunity.

 

22. In a world in which the national state is the overwhelmingnorm, all of the this means that nations can now be imagined without linguisticcommunity- not in the naive spirit of nosotrous los Americanos, but out of ageneral awareness of what modern history has demonstrated to be possible.

 

23. The very idea of ‘ nation ‘ is now nestled firmly in virtuallyall print-languages; and nation-ness is virtually inseparable from politicalconsciousness.

 

24. The ‘last wave’ of nationalisms, most of them in the colonialterritories of Asia and Africa, was in its origins a response to the new-styleglobal imperialism made possible by the achievements of industrial capitalism.

 

25. Capitalism had also, not least by its dissemination of print, helpedto create popular, vernacular-based nationalisms in Europe, which to differentdegrees undermined the age-old dynastic principle, and egged intoself-naturalization every dynasty positioned to do.

 

26. These school-system, centralized and standardized, createdquite new pilgrimages which typically had their Romes in the variescolonial capitals, for the nations hidden at the core of the empires wouldpermit no more inward ascension.

 

27. The interlock between particular educational andadministrative pilgrimages provided the territorial base for new ‘ imaginedcommunities’ in which natives could come to see themselves as ‘nationals’.

 

28. As with increasing speed capitalism transformed the means ofphysical and intellectual communication, the intelligentsias found ways tobypass print in propagating the imagined community, not merely to illiteratemasses, but even to literate masses reading different languages.

 

29. The cultural products of nationalism--- poetry, prose fiction,music, plastic arts- show this love (self-sacrificing love) very clearly inthousands of different forms and styles.

 

30. Through that language, encountered at mother’s knee and partedwith only at the grave, pasts are restored, fellowships are imagined, andfurther dreamed.

 

31. Thanks to print-capitalism, the French experience was notmerely ineradicable from human memory, it was also learnable-from.

 

32. If it is permissible to use modern Cambodia to illustrate anextreme modular transfer of ‘revolution,’ it is perhaps equitable to useVietnam to illustrate that of nationalism, by a brief excursus on the nation’sname.

 

33. Museum:

(1) The timing of that archaeological push coincided with thefirst political struggle over the state’s educational policies.

(2) The formal ideological programme of the reconstructions alwaysplaced the builders of the monuments and the colonial natives in a certainhierarchy.

(3) In the discussion of the “historical map”, how colonialregimes began attaching themselves to antiquity as much as conquest.

 

34. This style of imagining did not come out of thin air. It wasthe product of the technologies of navigation, astronomy, horology, surveying,photography and print, to say nothing of the deep driving power of capitalism.

 

35. Map and census thus shaped the grammar which would in duecourse make possible ‘Burma’ and ‘Burmese,’

 

36.(1) The trope took into account the sensed parallelism out ofwhich the American nationalisms had been born and which the success of theAmerican nationalist revolutions had great reinforced in Europe.

(2) The trope provides a crucialmetaphorical link between the newEuropean nationalisms and languages.