Images and Reality
• As a basis for explaining the behaviour of actors on the
world stage, image is important in shaping how people
see themselves, and how they see others
• Emphasis on the importance of image in modern global
politics has been taken furthest by poststructuralists
• Images can also serve as wider explanatory tools –
graphic ways of highlighting important trend and
developments in global politics
The Value of Images
• Value arises less from the insight into the shape of the
global future and more from their ability to highlight key
trends in the global present
• Ultimately, the future is unknowable: in part because
extrapolations from present trends inevitably diverge
from their course. Moreover, our knowledge of the
present is always unknowable.
Contending Images of
a Global Future
Some influential images include:
• A borderless world?
• A world of democracies?
• Civilizations in conflict?
• A Chinese century?
• The growth of international community?
• The rise of the global South?
• The coming environmental catastrophe?
• Towards cosmopolitan democracy?