"What is the British national character, and why do we think that there is one? In his influential book "Imagined Communities", Benedict Anderson wondered at the fact that "the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion." Anderson argued that this sense of community had been conjured by the rise of homogenised mass media and increased literacy in the 19th century, with newspapers cultivating a national identity and delivering it to a larger number of people than ever before."
As The Economist writes, it is an valid point to note that media shapes identity from inside borders and outside borders. Martin Parr curated exhibition Strange and Familiar at the Barbican tries to explore this. Each photographer explores what "Britishness" is since the 1930s.
Read The Economist article in full HERE.
Visit barbican.org.uk for exhibition details.