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4 Where Gellner describes how the nationalist imagination works Anderson describes not only the how of imagination but what is imagined Marcus Banks 1996127 Clarify and critically review the respective merits of the approaches to the study of nationalism essayed by Gellner and Anderson Nationalism as a concept first emerged in the late eighteenth century It was a structural change fundamental in the transformation in the way of thinking of entire nations Or as Benedict Anderson would say in the imaginations of the people of nations Born with this transformation and new way of thinking was a change in structure and in fact it seems progress was being made Named the century of enlightenment by Anderson the dawn of nationalism was produced by the erosion of religious certainties Anderson 198319 However it is difficult to articulate that imagined communities somehow merely grew out of and substituted religious groups and communities Nationalism is defined as a sentiment based on common cultural characteristics that binds a population and often produces a policy of national independence Collins English dictionary 1995757 Therefore it can be said that nationalism is a devotion to the interests or culture of a particular nation However I do not think it is possible to give a single definition to what constitutes nationalism no single universal theory of nationalism is possible its historical records are so diverse that so too must be our concepts This paper aspires to both highlight and distinguish the concepts and theories of both Benedict Anderson and Ernest Gellner while at the same time aiming to point out any restrictions in their arguments Anderson characterises nationalism as an imagined political community-and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign Anderson 198315 He goes on to say that 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
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