On the Global Imaginary: Visualizing and Interpreting Aesthetics of Global Change in Melbourne, Australia and Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

By Tommaso Durante.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: July 6, 2015 $US5.00

In the last few decades, China’s largest city, Shanghai, has been rapidly growing. The city’s increasing financial power and China’s rapid economic development are reflected by the ever-changing and super-modern Pudong skyline, as well as by the display of luxury goods and the abundance of shopping malls dotting the urban social fabric. Melbourne, the fastest growing and globalizing city of Australia, presently shows the exhaustion of its multicultural philosophy and a heavy transformation of its symbolic environment. Indeed, the "global" pervades and alters the urban social fabric of both cities through "hybrid cultural assemblages." These particular types of images, identified as "condensation symbols" and ideological markers of globality, have the power to create the "global imaginary" in a single place. This investigation approaches globalization as a material and ideational process from an alternative aesthetic standpoint. In particular, the inquiry deals with the increasing global consciousness, the production, circulation and consumption of images and metaphors that constitute the common sense of the "global." This image-driven investigation is carried out through a strategic research methodology that combines fieldwork, new theoretical frameworks and case studies method. The research attempts to grasp how the "global imaginary" is symbolically and socially produced in Melbourne and Shanghai, while explaining why "condensation symbols" are deeply relevant to the field of global studies.

Keywords: Global Imaginary, Globalization, Global Ideologies, Urban Social Fabric, Condensation Symbols

The Global Studies Journal, Volume 8, Issue 4, December 2015, pp.19-33. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: July 6, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.489MB)).

Dr. Tommaso Durante

Researcher, Globalization and Culture Program, Global Cities Research Institute, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


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