The Spectre of Comparisons: Nationalism, Southeast Asia, and the World

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A controversial collection from the author of the celebrated Imagined Communities. While Benedict Anderson is best known for his classic book on nationalism, Imagined Communities, many of his most telling and incisive interventions have been made in his essays. Those collected in this new book span a range of subjects: from Aquino's Philippines, where the horses on the haciendas ate better than the stable-hands, to political assassination in contemporary Thailand, where government posts have become so lucrative that to gain them candidates will kill their rivals. In these writing, the subtle imbrication of politics, national imaginings, bureaucracy, modernization and its agents (particularly print culture) is brought out in all its complexity and richness. "The spectre of comparisons" was a phrase used by the celebrated Filipino nationalist and novelist Jose Rizal (1861-96), whose work and fate in the national imagination are discussed in these pages. In his finely wrought observations on Southeast Asian societies, Anderson raises deep questions concerning this spectre, about how, for instance, Manila is changed when it can no longer be seen through a comparison with European capitals, and how, more broadly, nationalism is produce by the process of increasing global connection. The Spectre of Comparisons is an indispensable resource for those interested in South-East Asia. But it also contains important theoretical and historical considerations about nationalism, national literature and memory, modernization, and the prospects for the Left in what Anderson dubs 'The New World Disorder'.

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The spectre of comparisons: nationalism, Southeast Asia, and the world

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To open this collection of essays, Anderson (international studies, Cornell) refines the theory of nationalism he developed in his acclaimed Imagined Communities (1983). Anderson deftly identifies the ... Read full review

The spectre of comparisons: nationalism, Southeast Asia, and the world

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

To open this collection of essays, Anderson (international studies, Cornell) refines the theory of nationalism he developed in his acclaimed Imagined Communities (1983). Anderson deftly identifies the ... Read full review

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About the author (1998)

Benedict Anderson is Aaron L. Binenkorp Professor of International Studies Emeritus at Cornell University. He is editor of the journal Indonesia and author of Java in a Time of Revolution, The Spectre of Comparisons: Nationalism, Southeast Asia, and the World and Imagined Communities.

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