The Invention of Tradition

Eric J. Hobsbawm & Terence O. Ranger

 

Synopsis

Many of the traditions which we think of as very ancient in their origins were not in fact sanctioned by long usage over the centuries, but were invented comparatively recently. This book explores examples of this process of invention - the creation of Welsh and Scottish 'national culture'; the elaboration of British royal rituals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the origins of imperial rituals in British India and Africa; and the attempts by radical movements to develop counter-traditions of their own. It addresses the complex interaction of past and present, bringing together historians and anthropologists in a fascinating study of ritual and symbolism which poses new questions for the understanding of our history.

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Authors

Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm was a British Marxist historian of the rise of industrial capitalism, socialism and nationalism. He died in 2012.

Terence O. Ranger was a prominent African historian, focusing on the history of Zimbabwe. His work spanned the pre- and post-Independence period in Zimbabwe, from the 1960s to the present. He died in 2015.