In the almost complete absence of other sustained macro-political and social narratives—concern about global climate change notwithstanding—the pursuit of the ‘good life’ through practices of what is known as ‘consumerism’ has become one of the dominant global social forces, cutting across differences of religion, class, gender, ethnicity and nationality. It is the other side of the dominant ideology of market globalism and is central to what Manfred Steger calls the ‘global imaginary’.
The concept of this terms refers to the consciousness of belonging to a global community—a consciousness that has emerged in recent decades with the rapid rise of communication technologies and the decline of nation-based political ideologies. While globalization is breaking down the imagined walls of nationhood and bringing in “a shared sense of a thickening world community”, people seek for the recognition outside of their local consumptive circle, and their temptation to purchase nonnative goods increased.
Steger talks about the tension between localism and globalism in the images of Osama Bin Laden’s video broadcasts, and the irony of these images in regards to Bin Laden’s contempt for the West. Do you agree with Steger? What are some examples in your own life where you can see this tension between local and global imagery?
I personally think that the irony caused by the tension between “localism” and “globalism” it’s very interesting, given the fact that most of us are affected by it and we don’t even notice it. I definitely agree with Steger’s argument at this point. As as active member of the community and a part of society, I’ve been able to notice certain behaviors in others and myself similar to Bin Laden’s contempt for the west.
As an example, we have Mr. Chavez’ very own”Revolución Bolivariana” (Bolivarian Revolution), which opposes US’ backed corporate globalization and free trade idea of development. Therefore, president Hugo Chavez has been trying to “defend” the goals and direction of development, which according to him, had been skewed by “economism” and must be steered toward socialism. Just like Bin Landen’s tapes studied and analyzed in Steger’s book, president Chavez’ socialist behavior and opinions have been heavily supported by an oil based economy and military acts, that ironically have been tapping into new age technologies and economies.
On pg. 10, Steger introduces his own concept of the global imaginary. What do you think he means by “imaginary”? How does this concept differ from globality?
Global imaginary, like any other “imaginary”, I interpret as an abstract idea in people’s mind, which in this case is defined by Steger as “people’s growing consciousness of belonging to a global community”, and follows by explaining how now a days the local traditions(“national imaginary”) can sometimes be confused or mixed up with global trends (“global imaginary”).
Now before introducing the concept “global imaginary”, Steger talks about “globality”, suggesting that the definition of “globalization” has somehow become obscure and confusing, therefore we are not able to draw meaningful conclusions regarding the causes and effects of globalization. According to Steger “globality” it’s a social condition characterized by tight global affairs and flows that make most of the current borders and boundaries irrelevant”.
Hence, I draw the conclusion that “globality” creates the idea of “global imaginary” in mankind society.