The Rise of the Global Imaginary: Political Ideologies from the French Revolution to the Global War on Terror

Author: Manfred B. Steger
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Released: 2009

Editorial Reviews:

"A brilliant and erudite essay on the power of social imaginaries in the past and today. Steger gives us new tools to understand seemingly inexplicable contradictions in a global age. He draws on a far broader range of texts than we might expect, and does so often with novel questions and interpretations. The result is a book that illuminates, challenges, and decodes much of what remains in the shadows of globalization."--Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University      

"Unpeeling layers of conventional knowledge, Manfred Steger deftly cuts right to the core of ideas as historical forces. With remarkable acuity, his monumental Global Imaginary bores into secular and religious ideologies, and reveals what powers them."--James H. Mittelman, University Professor of International Affairs, American University                                                                                                                                                        
"If you want to know how we are likely to be affected by the greatest intellectual struggle of our time-between the death-throes of nationalism and the birth-pangs of globalism--Manfred Steger's The Rise of the Global Imaginary is the best guide yet. Written in flinty, accessible prose and rich in its grasp of history, politics and culture, this book will appeal equally to the specialist scholar and the general reader. One cannot read its intelligent dissections of destablizing nationalisms, competing ideological globalisms and the pervasive reach of our new cultural imaginings without experiencing shivers of admiration, apprehension and hope. Globalization studies will never be the same." --BIain McCalman AO, Professor of History and Federation Fellow, University of Sydney.

Product Description:
Neoliberalism. Neoconservatism. Postmarxism. Postmodernism. Is there really something genuinely new about today's isms? Have we moved past our traditional ideological landscape? Combining political history, philosophical interpretation, and good old-fashioned story-telling, Manfred B. Steger traces ideology's remarkable journey from Count Destutt de Tracy's Enlightenment "science of ideas" to President George W. Bush's "imperial globalism." Rejecting futile attempts to "update" modern political belief systems by adorning them with prefixes, the author offers instead a highly original explanation for their novelty--their increasing ability to articulate deep-seated understandings of community in global rather than national terms. This growing awareness of globality fuels the visions of social elites who reside in the privileged spaces of our global cities. It erupts in the hopes and demands of migrants who traverse national boundaries in search of their piece of the global promise. Stoked by cross-cultural encounters, technological change, and scientific innovation, the rising global imaginary has destabilized the grand political ideologies codified during the national age.

The national is slowly losing its grip on people's minds, but the global has not yet ascended to the commanding heights once occupied by its predecessor. Still, the first rays of the rising global imaginary have provided enough light to capture the contours of a profoundly altered ideological landscape. Pointing in this direction, the book ends with a timely interpretation of the apparent convergence of ideology and religion in the dawning global age--a broad phenomenon that extends beyond the obvious cases of Christian fundamentalism and Islamic jihadism.

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