Social Sciences

Start Free Trial

How useful is the idea of a “global imaginary,” as outlined by Steger and James?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Steger and James’s theory of the “global imaginary” is quite useful in contemporary society. We are in an era of globalization in which countries around the world are more connected and dependent on one another than ever before. We have the ability to travel and communicate with people in all parts of the world faster than any other period in human history, and we need to be able to have intercultural dialogues. The “global imaginary” can help people understand our relationship to the rest of the world and aid in the process of empathizing with and respecting others.

According to Steger, the term “global imaginary” refers to “people’s growing consciousness of the world as a single whole.” It is the notion that we belong to a global community and are not isolated within our own small communities. This perspective can motivate people to learn about the needs and struggles of others around the world. It might also encourage people to help communities far away from their own.

The global imaginary can also help people understand ways in which globalization is altering social, political, and economic landscapes. For instance, consider how some prominent corporations from the United States like Coca-Cola and Nestle are active around the world. Corporations like these market their products to vulnerable communities and have created a dependency on the unhealthy ingredients in their products. This is why some communities that lack nutritious food still have high rates of obesity and heart disease. The global imaginary can help people understand the role that forces like global capitalism have played in such health trends.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on