Political Ideologies and Social Imaginaries in the Global Age


  • Manfred Steger




This article argues that proliferation of prefixes like ‘neo’ and ‘post’ that adorn conventional ‘isms’ have cast a long shadow on the contemporary relevance of traditional political ideologies. Suggesting that there is, indeed, something new about today’s political belief systems, the essay draws on the concept of ‘social imaginaries’ to make sense of the changing nature of the contemporary ideological landscape. The core thesis presented here is that today’s ideologies are increasingly translating the rising global imaginary into competing political programs and agendas. But these subjective dynamics of denationalization at the heart of globalization have not yet dispensed with the declining national imaginary. The twenty-first century promises to be an ideational interregnum in which both the global and national stimulate people’s deep-seated understandings of community. Suggesting a new classification scheme dividing contemporary political ideologies into ‘market globalism’, ‘justice globalism’, and ‘jihadist globalism’, the article ends with a brief assessment of the main ideological features of justice globalism.