"Imagined Communities" - Benedict Anderson
Community as imagined.
> “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. (…) In fact, all communities larger than primordial villages of face-to-face contact (and perhaps even these) are imagined. Communities are to be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined.”
Connection through media.
>”(…) fellow-readers, to whom they were connected through print, formed, in their secular, particular, visible invisibility, the embryo of the nationally imagined community.”
Extract for interview with Anderson titled ‘When the Virtual Becomes the Real’
Can the Net give rise to a true global community that in a physical sense you could never have? Can individuals, when they become increasingly part of a larger, overarching culture, plug into that and feel charged by it in the same way traditional communities charge us?
(…) What strikes me about the habits of the people who spend so much time on the Net—well, it’s so new that we don’t know what will come next—is in fact precisely how niche in character it is. You ask people what nets they are on, and they’re all so specialized! The Argentines on the Argentine Net and so forth. And it’s particularly the Argentines who are not in Argentina. Or you have the gay/lesbian networks or the aeronautic fan club net or any one of a zillion specialized places. What is so extraordinary about this thing is that it is not a superhighway at all in that sense. It’s much more like a new kind of broadcasting. Even now in the States, if you have the right gizmos you can track into three hundred channels and surf your brains out. But if you ask these kids what they actually watch… they like the idea that there are three hundred channels but they don’t really use them. They want them there but they actually follow only two or three. So I think that there is a sort of fetishization of the concept of choice.
»> The idea of Imagined Communities and Anderson’s observations concerning online practices support Gee’s premise that the concept ‘community’ (as a single, definite description for group which people ‘subscribe to’) is no longer sufficient to describe socio-cultural practices related to digital (social) media.