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Imagined Communities and Self-Identity: An Exploratory Quantitative Analysis


Phillips, T, Imagined Communities and Self-Identity: An Exploratory Quantitative Analysis, Sociology, 36, (3) pp. 597-617. ISSN 0038-0385 (2002) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1177/0038038502036003006


The proliferation of quantitative studies of national and other macro-level weimages points to a growing sociological interest in the contribution of imagined communities to self-identity. However, these studies have tended to present an oversimplified picture of this cultural phenomenon, relying on essentialist, one-dimensional and non-divisible conceptions of the social self, It is the contention of this paper that important clues for clarifying the less developed approaches to self-identity that feature in such quantitative work can be found in Benedict Anderson's landmark analysis of imagined communities. Anderson's treatment of this topic is used to sensitize a survey analysis of self-identification with large-scale geographic units among contemporary Australians. Findings from the investigation highlight a neglect in emerging quantitative research on self-attachment to imagined communities o: (:) the plural sources, multi-dimensional nature and divisible character of self-identity, and (i.) the complex ways in which different layers of self-identity interlock to shape social attitudes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Community services
Objective Field:Citizenship and national identity
UTAS Author:Phillips, T (Dr Timothy Phillips)
ID Code:24059
Year Published:2002
Web of Science® Times Cited:39
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:2002-08-01
Last Modified:2003-05-19

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