Globalization, Imagination, Social Space: The Making of Geopolitical Imaginaries

Angelika Epple and Kirsten Kramer (Bielefeld University)


This article conceptualizes the term “geopolitical imaginaries” by offering a critical reading of the description of globalization processes based on theoretical considerations formulated by Arjun Appadurai and a brief case study in form of a comparison between two book covers. Appadurai’s understanding of imagination is based on three elements: images, the imagined, and the imaginary. On an analytical level these terms hint at three important dimensions which are crucial for the understanding of geopolitical imaginaries: the material, the creative, and the social. The article highlights the impact of geopolitical imaginaries by comparing the different book covers of the English and the Spanish version of Christopher Baily’s The Birth of the Modern World (El nacimiento del mundo moderno). Both book covers outline a specific geopolitical imaginary which implies the connection between different world regions and historical epochs and builds on the intersection of racial, gendered, and other asymmetrical power relations.

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