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Thomas Hylland Eriksen's 'Nations in cyberspace ' is a thoughtful and thought provoking paper on a timely issue. The proponents of the social communication approach have long considered the impact of electronic media on nationalism and the nation-state. If print capitalism (Anderson, 1983) and education (Gellner, 1983) catalysed the emergence of the nation-state, then what role do television and more recently, the internet have on processes of nation-building and nation-maintenance? Crucially, this is not merely a theoretical question; such debates are reflected in a number of policy decisions about immigration and multicultural politics thus having tangible consequences in people's everyday lives. For example, the reader may recall the moral panics surrounding satellite television for allegedly preventing the integration of immigrants in Germany (for a discussion see Aksoy and Robins, 2000). More recently, debates about the role of the internet in radicalising identity politics have echoed similar concerns. Eriksen states his argument clearly: 'Nations thrive in cyberspace'. Far from being the global village (McLuhan, 1964), cyberspace emerges as the symbolic terrain in which nations (actual and in waiting) struggle for visibility and recognition. Eriksen points out in the paper'

Year: 2009
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