Ulf Hannerz
ifk Senior Fellow

Zeitraum des Fellowships:
01. Oktober 2007 bis 31. Januar 2008

The geocultural imagination: scenarios and story lines


The geocultural imagination engages in a kind of mapmaking, seeking to grasp the distribution of things cultural over territories and their human populations, in the past, present, and future. Such thinking has an extensive history in the cultural sciences. Recently the geocultural imagination has become more volatile, readily crossing the boundaries between academic and public arenas. Since the 1990s a number of global scenarios have appeared – "clash of civilizations", "the coming anarchy", "Empire" – primarily with geopolitical intent, but often based on geocultural assumptions. Such scenarios have reached large transnational audiences, leading to critiques and debates. They also interact with the need of global journalism for steady story lines, to guide news reporting from various regions. This mixed genre of scholarship and journalism can be scrutinized at two levels. The writings can be evaluated with regard to their acceptability as scholarship concerned with cultural organization and process. They can also be viewed as significant components in an emergent transnational collective consciousness, a set of representations of the world which circulate in a world-wide web of social relationships.


Professor emeritus of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University, Sweden; Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences


Among others: Soulside. Inquiries into Ghetto Culture and Community, New York 1969; Exploring the City. Inquiries Toward an Urban Anthropology, New York 1980; Cultural Complexity. Studies in the Social Organization of Meaning, New York 1992; Transnational Connections, London 1996; Foreign News. Exploring the World of Foreign Correspondents, Chicago 2004. Several of Ulf Hannerz' publications have also appeared in French, Spanish, Italian and Polish. He was the Anthropology editor for the International Enyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (2001).