Racial Identity and American Citizenship in Ralph Ellisonâ€™s Invisible Man
Theorists of nation and nationalism across ages have questioned the mythical dimensions of nationalistic narratives that blurs the history of origins and â€œtransitional social realityâ€ (Bhabha 1) of nations while propagating timeless discourses of â€œuniformity and unityâ€ (Basu 19). Ernest Renan, in 1882, dismisses the claims of a shared language, race or ethnicity of nation-states and calls nationalism a subjective act of â€˜will to live together â€™ while Benedict Anderson, in his book Imagined Communities published in 1983, traces the origins of modern nations to religious congregations, trade, print capitalism and the growth of industrialization. Nationhood is thus, â€œnot an ethno-demographic or ethno-cultural factâ€, but â€œa political claim on peopleâ€™s loyalty, on their attention, on their solidarityâ€ (Brubacker 116). Renan had correctly dismissed the possibility of a universal domination by a monarch or a nation since the formation of nation-states as we know today because, as Brubacker points out, in spite of the post-modernist celebration of post-nationality and globalisation under the unifying influences of Multi-National Companies, nations have, more than ever before, invented â€œsophisticated technologies of identification, surveillance and controlâ€ which regulates the lives of its citizens as well as that of the immigrants or foreigners. Thus today, it has become an indispensable presence which governs our personal and social lives.