№ 2, 2012
n H.Best’s article the Russian version of which we introduce to the readers the author is testing the hypothesis that the “invention” or the “construction” of mass identities is not an arbitrary process of first composing and then imposing a narrative of the “sameness”, “belongingness” or “common destiny” to some population, but that it is constrained and directed by specific historical givens and experiences shaping the collective memories and conditions of living of the same population. When it comes to national identities it is the processes of state formation and nation building that leave a specific and inextinguishable trace in the collective mind. Disagreeing with the notion that national identity is an outcome of a mere “availability of ideas” at the time of its formation, the author views it as the result of a targeted response to a challenge posed to a collectivity of people at a critical juncture of a nation’s historical development.
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