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Imagined communities: from subjecthood to nationality in the British Atlantic

Cooper, Luke (2022) Imagined communities: from subjecthood to nationality in the British Atlantic. International Relations, 37 (1). pp. 72-95. ISSN 1741-2862

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Identification Number: 10.1177/00471178221098913


Drawing on the concept of uneven and combined development this article critically interrogates Benedict Anderson’s theory of the ‘imagined community’ through an historical investigation into the English-realm-cum-British-empire. Placing its rise in the context of the conflicts of Post-Reformation Europe, it identifies vectors of combined development (money, goods, ideas, people) which shaped the formation of new imagined communities. These post-Reformation struggles were not defined by nationality but subjecthood, which saw ‘the realm’ displace the monarch as an object of rights and duties. The 18th century rise of British nationalism was a response to the long crisis of subjecthood (1639–1688). However, this emergence was uneven and non-linear, such that it co-existed as a political imagination with continued belief in – and political support for – subjecthood. Ironically, given its latter-day mythology, the American Revolutionary War was fought to protect subjecthood under the Crown from subordination to the British nation and its parliament.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author(s)
Divisions: IGA: LSE IDEAS
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2022 10:12
Last Modified: 24 May 2024 04:27

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