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  A community of people whose members are bound together by a sense of solidarity rooted in an historic attachment to a homeland and a common culture, and by a consciousness of being different from other nations (cf. difference; other/otherness). The term is frequently but misleadingly used interchangeably with both state and nation-state on the assumption that every state is a nation and vice versa, although nationalist writings generally hold that they are destined for each other because neither is complete without the other (see nationalism). Anderson (1990) considers the nation to be above all else an \'imagined community\' for four reasons: (a) despite the limited bounds of an individual\'s activities, the nation is associated with a larger sense of communion than that of his or her local environment; (b) it is imagined as limited in geographical reach by finite, if elastic, boundaries beyond which lie other nations; (c) it is imagined as sovereign and thus the ideal is freedom in a sovereign state (cf. sovereignty); and (d) it is imagined as community based on a territorial relationship which subsumes other community cleavages and divisions (cf. territory; territoriality). (GES)

References and Suggested Reading Anderson, B. 1990: Imagined communities. London: Verso. Billig, M. 1996: Banal nationalism. London: Sage. Gellner, E. 1983: Nations and nationalism. Oxford: Blackwell; Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Smith, A. 1998: Nationalism and modernity. London: Routledge.



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