The idea of Anderson that the Nation is an imagined community has been a very popular and his acceptance was fairly quick. And like all popular ideas and fast acceptance, this means that there is a core of high interest in that idea and in turn that one will find among its advocates a number of problems in the understanding of the topic.
Because the nation is not the first imagined community. It is not that before the development of modern nationalism people just live and have loyalties towards communities ‘actual’ (where the people actually knew the majority of its members). The ‘christianity’ or the community of muslim believers was also an imagined community.
The difference of nationalism has to do with the concentration of the loyalties. In a non-nationalistic, people have multiple loyalties and memberships to communities, and some of them operate on a scale: patriotism, neighborhood, provincial, country, religious community more etc, A bourgeois of, say, Bruges in 1500 could feel some level of community with its own city, with its province (Flanders), with its state (the Low Countries of the Burgundians), with christianity. And to use an example more local, a resident of Conception in 1700 was penquista in the first place, then a member of the community of the Captaincy, in addition to a ‘Spanish american’, also a subject of the king of Spain. and also a catholic christian. In both cases, several of these forms of identification are identification with an imagined community (imagined, because you do not know all the members and the community because despite the differences, the imagined is membership in fraternal group)
What makes nationalism is to break such a diversity of patriotismos and replace them by a just patriotism: towards the nation state. On the one hand bankruptcy and makes it lose significance to the patriotismos local (to the village, the neighbourhood, the city etc) and also makes it lose relevance to the larger communities to the nation-state. Is this change of what multiple only allows you to better understand what involves the development of the nation as imagined community.