Wished-for and Unwished-for Identities
Hanging Spain on the walls: Images and building of national identity from the schools (1875-1975)
María DEL MAR DEL POZO
Universidad de Alcalá
1.Imagining images of the Spanish nation from the schools
In 1983 the book about nationalism by Benedict Anderson appeared in English, wherein he established the thesis which continues to be the object of admiration and discussion in equal parts today. In his opinion, nations were not entities that arose in the remote past, in the darkness of time, established from immemorial times by territorial boundaries and through certain absolutely unvarying ethnic characteristics of their inhabitants, as the essentialist theories of nationalism maintained. On the contrary, Anderson defined nation as an “imagined political community”; and nationality as much as nationalism were merely “cultural artefacts” that should be carefully studied to understand how they had developed into historic entities; in what ways their meanings had changed over time; why even today they dragged such a burden of emotional legitimacy1. Anderson compared his concept of “imagined community” with that of “invented nation” enunciated by Gellner2. Nationalism “invents” or “fabricates” nations, according to this author, while for Anderson they are “created” or “imagined”3. In short, what both of them came to establish was that national identity was not something given, immutable, and timeless, but a social or cultural construction, that was continually being made and remade and which gave place to many and different experiences of nation.
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