These concepts of Anderson's also seem valid today within the
readings, and easily 'borrowable' in service of fundamentalism as well
as nationalism. It is this very definition of time, in fact, that allows the use of politicized religion to bolster a nation's beliefs and confirm its collective hegemonies, to claim a consistent religious or social linkage with their past which discursively justifies present actions and beliefs, coupled with a selective forgetting of certain uncomfortable 'facts' regarding the actual creation of the nation-state and its modern, present-day location.

Anderson states that the sacred scripts, societal hierarchies, and 'simultaneous' view of time answered humanity's need for a sense of connection, continuity, and meaning within life — a need that was previously answered by religiously connected communities. He states that with the fall from use and belief of these three concepts a new form of community had to be constructed. Furthermore, he believes the answer to this need — nationalism — was greatly facilitated by the arrival and dissemination of both the printing press (which created shared vernacular print-languages) and capitalism (which encouraged the dissemination of the printed products).

This is an interesting conclusion for several reasons. Firstly, according to the readings from which I am working, it would seem nationalism and religion are not, as might be implied by Anderson's work, either mutually exclusive or binary opposites. We see politicized religion being used to further the causes of nationalism, and nationalism as justification for the blanket application of religio-political views across a non-homogenous society, as has been shown previously in this paper.

Secondly, it is "Westernization," with its powerfully associated capitalism, that is clearly stated as the "cultural invader" being fought in several of the above stated examples. If therefore some of Anderson's conclusions seem somewhat inapplicable, while others fit the facts presented within the writings quite well, it would appear nationalism alone is not answering all the needs people have for connected communities, just as previously religion alone did not.

Instead, at least within the readings, it would seem a mixture of both seems to be appearing — that fundamentalism is becoming an uneasy post-modern pastiche of religion and nationalistic fervor, in the service of creating a connected community. This observation ties in nicely with my previous working definition of fundamentalism. What it does not do is explain possible reasons why this particular discursive response to societal stresses is appearing. Since this paper is supposed to have some possible solutions to the issues of repression as informed by fundamentalism, it would behoove me to take a moment to attempt to understand what these reasons might be.

Possible Motivators

According to de Saussure, "No society … knows or has ever known language other than as a product inherited from preceding generations." By this token it might be postulated that current hegemonic views within a society must also be of necessity inherited from the past, even as they are discursively influenced by quotidian experience.

Perhaps within this assumption an explanation for the many examples of fundamentalism in post-colonial countries, in our readings, can be found. Phrased in a somewhat essentialist manner, perhaps it is the previous existence of colonial repression that selectively informed the current, sometimes extreme repressions and hegemonic views on women and minorities that we see today, as described within the readings. This will not explain all the examples of fundamentalism that have been examined so far, but might aid in creating at least a working hypothesis as to the reasons behind these repressions, and explain somewhat why they are accepted despite their obvious logical shortcomings.

As de Saussure noted, signifiers are composed through comparison with "similar values, with other words that stand in opposition to it." Under those circumstances, it could be that to oppress is to discover one's self, to exist oppositionally to one's victim, to know one's own strength and power. Symbolically this is a powerful act, one that has, as we've previously seen, compelling religious overtones. As Barthes notes,

We find again here this disease of thinking in essences, which is at the bottom of every bourgeois mythology of man (which is why we come across it so often). … myth hides nothing: its function is to distort, not to make disappear. Myth is a value, truth is no guarantee for it; nothing prevents it from being a perpetual alibi: it is enough that its signifier has two sides for it always to have an 'elsewhere' at its disposal. … Men do not have with myth a relationship based on truth but on use [italics his] (1957: 121, 123, 144).

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