Benedict Anderson - Imagined Communities

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. London: Verso, 1983.
“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.”
(pages 5-6)

“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.”
(page 6)

“The nation is imagined as limited because even the largest of them, encompassing perhaps a billion living human beings, has finite, if elastic, boundaries, beyond which lie other nations. No nation imagines itself coterminous with mankind.”
(page 7)

“Ever since John Harrison’s 1761 invention of the chronometer, which made possible the precise calculation of longitudes, the entire planet’s curved surface had been subjected to a geometrical grid which squared off empty seas and unexpected regions in measured boxes. The task of, as it were, ‘filling in’ the boxes was to be accomplished by explorers, surveyors, and military forces… Triangulation by triangulation, war by war, treaty by treaty, the alignment of map and power proceeded.”
(page 173)

“Thongchai notes that the vectoral convergence of print-capitalism with the new conception of spatial reality presented by these maps had an immediate impact on the vocabulary of Thai politics. Between 1900 and 1915, the traditional words krung and muang largely disappeared, because they imagined dominion in terms of sacred capitals and visible, discontinuous population centres. In their place came prathet, ‘country,’ which imaged it in the invisible terms of bounded territorial space.”
(page 173)

Quoting Thongchai Winichakul, Siam Mapped, 1988:

“In terms of most communication theories and common sense, a map is a scientific abstraction of reality. A map merely represents some thing which already exists objectively ‘there’. In the history I have described, this relationship was reversed. A map anticipated spatial reality, not vice versa. In other words, a map was a model for, rather than a model of, what it purported to represent… It had become a / real instrument to concretize projections on the earth’s surface. A map was now necessary for the new administrative mechanisms and for the troops to back up their claims… This discourse of mapping was the paradigm which both administrative and military operations worked within and served.”
(pages 173-174)