Sunday, September 23, 2012

Print Capitalism and the Creoles

“The convergence of capitalism and print technology on the fatal diversity of human language created the possibility of a new form of imagined community, which in its basic morphology set the stage of modern nation.” (46)

In Anderson’s Imagined Networks, Anderson mentioned the Spaniards invasion in order to make sense of nationalism. Due to the invasion of Spaniards, most people in Latin America learnt Spanish. In the quote mentioned above, Anderson further emphasized that print technology and a common language aided the formation of “nationhood” in the hearts of people. However, despite most of the people spoke Spanish at that time, and they called themselves “nosotros los Americanos” (62), why was Latin America separated into so many different nations based on those ambiguous boundaries along the mountains or the Inca trails? Also, if nosotros los Americanos all had the same experience, the experience of being oppressed by Spaniards, how was it possible that the Latinos imagined communities were so different that after the independence from Spaniards, these communities became different nations?

I think what struck me the most is how print capitalism played such a crucial role in the formation of the many different nations after the downfall of the Spanish empire. As I read on, I realized that print capitalism, especially news, “created an imagined community among a specific assemblage of fellow-readers, to whom these ships, brides, bishops and prices belonged” (62). Anderson further commented that “one fertile trait of such newspapers was always their provinciality” (62). The use of these shifters (this, that) in the newspapers did not just create a conscious of the “doubleness” (62) of the existence of the Spaniards and nosotros los Americanos, but also the existence of other Americanos who are different from them. Newspapers might have unconsciously drawn the boundary of the imagined communities against the Spaniards, but more importantly, it also drawn the boundaries of the imagined communities, which could be imagined because of “homogenous, empty time” (33). Despite having the same experience, due to backward technology, the communities from afar could not be imagined due to the lack of better information flow and the lack of knowledge of the simultaneity of the “homogenous time” that other communities were experiencing. It is only now that we can make sense of the "homogenous time" of areas so far apart.

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