Tag Archives | Global Studies

Transcending Nationalities: The “Global Imaginary” Seen Through Visual Culture

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Images are active players in the game of establishing and changing values. They are capable of introducing new values into the world and thus of threatening old ones.  J.T. Mitchell, 2005.

The concept of “global imaginary,” as coined by Manfred Steger, 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. The concept builds on Benedict Anderson’s theories of “imagined communities,” but while Anderson used the term to refer to shared ideologies within nations, Steger posits that globalization is breaking down the imagined walls of nationhood and bringing about “a shared sense of a thickening world community.”  Steger insists that in order to understand and solve the great global problems of our time, we must first understand the “global imaginary” and all that it represents.

One artist and scholar has focused on visual culture as a way to understand the concept of “global imaginary.”  Tommaso Durante’s project, the Visual Archive Project of the Global Imaginary, explores the visual evidence, through photographs, of the cultural changes happening worldwide as a result of globalization.  Images are powerful conveyors of information. They carry a wealth of embedded knowledge about culture, values, and ideology. And Durante explains how, “due to the global spread of new media technologies, the massive uses of personal electronic devices and the development of intelligent architectural interfaces, visuality is increasingly eclipsing textuality and images, with their ‘surplus of value’, dominate the world.”  Indeed, if we look at how social media, with its image-heavy and text-sparse format, has become a unifying and polarizing force in the world, we can see how important visual culture is to the social forces that shape global society.

The photographs in Durante’s archive cover the cultural, political, and ideological dimensions of the “global imaginary.”  The photographs encompassing the cultural dimension are full of people, advertisements, storefronts, public spaces, and symbols that represent merging nationalities and ideologies.  The Apple logo is seen prominently displayed in a modern glass shopping center in East Shanghai, and then on a sign in from of an “iShop” housed in a beautiful historic building in Rome.  Through the images, we see how symbols and cultural icons stretch across the boundaries of nations and create a shared global visual landscape.  The images also venture into the political dimension, showing protest movements in the U.S. and Chile.  The ideological dimension shows advertisements and promotional imagery that deliberately make use of the the globe or words like “global” and “international” to produce a sense of shared meaning and influence cultural identities.

The archive may just be one artist’s perspective of the visual culture of globalization, but it is nonetheless a compelling portrait of the ways in which globalization is inciting a shared sense of meaning and belonging among global citizens.  The collection is a powerful illustration of the concept of the “global imaginary,” adding a visual dimension to Steger’s theory and, if Durante’s intentions come to fruition, serving as a historical archive of the process of globalization.

Learn more about globalization and the “global imaginary” with the resources below!

Scholarly Articles (Available through UIUC Online Journals & Databases)

Benedikter, Roland;  Ziveri, Davide.  (2014). The global imaginary, new media and sociopolitical innovation in the periphery: the practical case of an Internet-based empowerment project in Palestine and Israel. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 28:4.

Crang M. (2010). The death of great ships: photography, politics, and waste in the global imaginary. Environment and Planning A, 42:5, 1084 – 1102.

Durante, Tommasso. (2014). Visual Culture and Globalization: The Visual Archive Project of the Global Imaginary. Global-E Journal, 8.

Ojala, M. (2011). MEDIATING GLOBAL IMAGINARY. Journalism Studies, 12:5.

Steger, Manfred B.  (2009). The Rise of the Global Imaginary and the Persistence of Ideology. Global-E Journal, 3. 

Books

Anderson, Benedict O’G. (1991). Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London : Verso.

Baldacchino, John,Vella, Raphael. (Eds.) (2013). Mediterranean art and education: navigating local, regional and global imaginaries through the lens of the arts and learning.  Rotterdam, The Netherlands : Sense Publishers.

Djelic, Marie-Laure.Quack, Sigrid. (Eds.) (2010). Transnational communities: shaping global economic governance. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.

Krätke, Stefan, Wildner, Kathrin,  Lanz, Stephan. (Eds.) (2012). Transnationalism and urbanism. New York, NY : Routledge.

Shavit, Uriya. (2009). The new imagined community: global media and the construction of national and Muslim identities of migrants. Brighton [England] : Sussex Academic Press.

Steger, Manfred B.. (2008). The rise of the global imaginary: political ideologies from the French Revolution to the global war on terror. Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Vertovec, Steven. (2009). Transnationalism. London : Routledge.

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Exploring Global Studies Careers

The great thing about a major or minor in Global Studies is versatility.  Since Global Studies is such an interdisciplinary field, graduates branch out into all parts of the world, in all segments of industry, government, and the non-profit sector.  The whole idea behind the creation of Global Studies programs is that global issues need the expertise of all academic disciplines, and an interdisciplinary background is essential to better understand the problems of our world.  The world needs minds that understand globalization and how it affects all aspects of society, and students who come from a Global Studies background are prepared to address these important issues in whichever field they have chosen.  Some students enter the workforce directly after graduation with entry-level positions in a variety of fields, and others pursue graduate studies or other type of professional school.

Whatever path you choose, it’s never too soon to start thinking about and preparing for your career.  Here are some general tips to think about while you’re pursuing your degree that might make job searching easier down the road:

  • Study Abroad
  • Volunteer or Intern  Abroad
  • Learn languages
  • Get an internship or summer job domestically with an international firm.
  • If you have a “target country” that you’d eventually like to work in, learn as much about the culture, language, politics, and business environment of that country as possible.

An education in Global Studies will provide you with critical thinking skills, the ability to understand diverse cultures, knowledge of international economics, language and translation skills, and many other important abilities that will be invaluable in the global workplace.  The proper planning for your chosen career will help in your future job searches and help you tailor your skills to your chosen profession.

**LAS Global Studies prepares a weekly “Career Prep Bulletin” for Global Studies majors and minors.  If you are not a Global Studies major or minor, but would like to receive this newsletter, please email Melissa Schoeplein at mschoepl@illinois.edu.

Check out the following resources to get a head start on career planning!

Helpful Websites

The Career Center at UIUC – Working Abroad

LAS Global Studies Program – UIUC – Careers

Lehigh University – Careers in Global Studies

 “What Can I Do With This Major?” – from the University of Tennessee

 

Some Print Resources on Global Careers

Christie, Sally. (2004). Vault guide to international careers. New York : Vault Inc.

Kruempelmann, Elizabeth. (2002). The global citizen: a guide to creating an international life and career. Berkeley : Ten Speed Press.

Reis, Christina.Baruch, Yehuda. (Eds.) (2013). Careers without borders: critical perspectives.  New York : Routledge.

Sherman, Dan. (2013). Maximum success with Linkedin: dominate your market, build a global brand, and create the career of your dreamsNew York : McGraw-Hill.

Swartz, Salli. (Eds.) (2012). Careers in international law. Chicago : American Bar Association, Section of International Law.

 

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