chapter  8
14 Pages

THE NATION: AN IMAGINED COMMUNITY? Javier Sanjinés

In revisiting the classics of social science, it is evident that even authors that acknowledge the division of societies into different classes, tend to treat societies as organic ‘totalities’, subject to rules of analysis that impart a sense of unity and homogeneity to events of the past. This tendency is also evident in historical analyses that neglect the deep ethnic and racial divisions that pervade political life, divisions that are particularly important in understanding societies of the Third World. In the same way, concepts so central to the study of social organization, like ‘national culture’, are based on a sense of social cohesion that simply does not reflect reality. In this way, the triad made up of the lettered practice literature and journalism the construction of the nationstate, and the organization of ‘national culture’, is based on a conflictive model that centers hopes for the future in the rational and teleological organization of a social utopia. This lineal model of modernity, originating in Europe and influenced by Hegel, assumes that no matter what the crisis in the present, modernity will overcome the obstacles it faces, and lead in the end to a future social utopia, be it capitalist or socialist. This inalterable course of history is based on the profound conviction that the crises suffered in different historicaleconomic cycles will transpire without throwing into doubt the overall lineal and progressive move toward social utopia.