Anderson (1991: 72) does not perceive the imagined community as mere successor of those communities in dynastic and religious realms but rather as result of a changing understanding of the world. Thus, it is most interesting to identify the circumstances that have led to change in the community’s apprehension in recent cases of nationalism in various parts of the world. All the socio-economic circumstances which contributed to the emergence of imagined communities in Europe as well as the New World (Anderson’s case studies) have arguably fundamentally changed. Is Anderson’s theory of print capitalism nevertheless still applicable today, especially with regard to the internet and other communication technologies? How does globalisation affect communities? How does the availability of vast amounts of information challenge nationalist claims of (imagined) national histories, cultures, languages etc? If, as Anderson (1991: 3) holds, nationalism prevails and still draws on the imagined community, how has is adapted to the current circumstances? Is it an outdated theory only valid for early modern phenomena?
“I have a relationship to that book as to a daughter who has grown up and run off with a bus driver: I see her occasionally but, really, she has gone her own merry way. I can wish her good luck, but now she belongs with someone else. What would I change in the book? Well, should I try to change my daughter?” (Interview 2005, link below)
While he does not necessarily repeal his theory with this statement, he admits to a certain perpetuation which slipped out of his hands. Does that show the diminishing applicability of his theory the further we progress into modernity and post-modernity?
For an interesting interview with Anderson in which he shares some thoughts about his book Imagined Communities and the clash between nationalism and the internet as well as the feminist movement see http://www.culcom.uio.no/english/news/2005/anderson.html