Skip navigation

This is just a musing inspired by a recent facebook post floating in my stream.  A while ago, I read Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities, a really stimulating work on the paradoxical cultural logic that is the nation.  His premise, published in 1983-before the internet’s hayday, is that the concept of citizenship under one sovereign national body, is ultimately socially constructed, because we rarely encounter most of our fellow citizens, but still starkly uphold values such as patriotism and nationality.  Many of Anderson’s ideas stem from new spatialities, expansions from the village into the global village, and the consequent sudden push for solidarity.  How does networked culture break down this 30 year old schema?  When  I encountered this picture on facebook, I wanted to think through how contemporary patriotism, given the NSA fiasco, warfare within the last decade, and police brutality, has become not only a transparent fallacy, but a penalty to be monitored by the panopticism of the popular opinion of the internet.  How does Anonymous fit into this scheme?  How are virtual connections becoming more affective and effective than the socially constructed connections that used to be the lifeblood of our nations (simulacrum event)?  Can we imagine a world in which networked guilds, like world of warcraft raiding groups, or reddit subthreads, have more influence on the actual workings or routines of our daily lives?