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Contemporary Wales
Contemporary Wales

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9 Cultural representation

In this section we examine some of the important ways that Wales has been represented or portrayed, in cinema and on television, in recent times. We look at the impact that this has had on the life of the country and the way that Wales is ‘imagined’, both within and outside of Wales.

As a starting point, one way of thinking about the representation of any nation is through the idea of ‘imagining’ a nation into being. Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities (1983) is a book that has played a key role in efforts to explain the idea of ‘nationalism’ in general and the role of culture in making a nation in particular. Anderson’s ideas are of central importance to the way that we look at the representation of Wales in this section.

This idea of ‘imagining’ our community is arguably of particular interest to people living in places where the formation (or partial formation) of a nation has only very recently taken place through the process of devolution, but where the ‘idea’ of a nation has existed for much longer and in ways that have helped shape the lives of those that live there in profound ways.