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The Rise of the Global Imaginary

Political Ideologies from the French Revolution to the Global War on Terror

Manfred B. Steger

Publication Date - July 2008

ISBN: 9780199286935

336 pages

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $58.95


Neoliberalism. Neoconservatism. Postmarxism. Postmodernism. Is there really something genuinely new about today's "isms?" Have we truly moved past our traditional ideological landscape?
Combining political history, philosophical interpretation, and good old-fashioned story-telling, The Rise of the Global Imaginary: Political Ideologies from the French Revolution to the Global War on Terror traces ideology's remarkable journey from Count Destutt de Tracy's Enlightenment-era "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, author Manfred Steger offers 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. However, 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 Rise of the Global Imaginary 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.

About the Author(s)

Manfred B. Steger is Professor of Global Studies and Academic Director of the Globalism Institute at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Globalization Research Center at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa. His academic fields of expertise include global studies, political and social theory, peace studies, and international politics. He has served as consultant on globalization for the U.S. State Department and he has been an adviser for the 2005 PBS television series, "Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism." He has presented dozens of invited lectures and keynote addresses on globalization in Australia, Asia, North America, and Europe. His most recent publications include Globalism: Market Ideology Meets Terrorism, Second Edition (2005); Judging Nonviolence: The Dispute Between Realists and Idealists (2003); Globalization: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2003).


"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, and author of Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages

"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 globalization--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 destabilizing 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."-Iain McCalman AO, Professor of History and Federation Fellow, University of Sydney

Table of Contents

    Preface and Acknowledgments
    Introduction: Political Ideologies and Social Imaginaries
    Part I: The National Imaginary
    1. Ideology and Revolution: From Superscience to False Consciousness
    2. The Grand Ideologies of the Nineteenth Century: British Liberalism, French Conservatism, German Socialism
    3. Twentieth-Century Totalitarianisms: Russian Communism and German Nazism
    Part II: The Global Imaginary
    4. Third World Liberationisms and other Cold War Isms: No End to Ideology
    5. Market Globalism and Justice Globalism in the Roaring Nineties
    6. Jihadist Globalism versus Imperial Globalism: The Great Ideological Struggle of the Twenty-First Century?
    Selected Bibliography