“Thus, the model of official nationalism assumes its relevance above all at the moment when revolutionaries successfully take control of the state, and are for the first time in a position to use the power of the state in pursuit of their visions” (p. 159).
When does nationalism stick to its people? More importantly, when do other groups start recognizing a community’s sense of nationalism? Anderson’s story about the naming of Vietnam makes me think that nationalism is more about a sense of validity than a sense of comradeship between a group of people—China’s understanding of the Vietnam nationality weighed more on a global scale than the state of Vietnam’s idea of what their nationalism should be. Why did revolutionaries need to take over the state to be most effective in reaching their goals? (Why did Moscow have to be the “new” capital?) It seems to be more about validity than an effective organizing idea.
My point is this: how do people know when the imagined space becomes an imagined community? The state could insist on nationalism, but what about the new kinds of imagined communities—the ones without an overseeing state? This is where outside groups are needed to validate an imagined space’s “community-ness”. Look at this blog, for instance. Are we a part of this imagined community because we were informed it was an imagined community for us to be part of (as with official nationalism)? Or are we a part of this community because we post to this blog? Or will we be part of it when we reference it as a community in class or to our friends and peers (all outside groups)? I think that newer imagined communities (versus official nationalism) need to be validated using groups outside the community.