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The modern international imaginary: sketching horizons and enriching the picture

McKeil, Aaron ORCID: 0000-0003-1649-0019 (2018) The modern international imaginary: sketching horizons and enriching the picture. Social Imaginaries, 4 (2). 159 - 180. ISSN 2393-2503

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Identification Number: 10.5840/si20184217


This article aims to bridge the literature of modern social imaginaries with the growing study of modernity in International Relations. Employing a Taylorian conceptual framework and account, the case is made for understanding modern international relations as enabled and constrained by a “modern international imaginary”, which forms a significant part of the modern social imaginary more generally. It is argued that a modern social imaginaries approach offers a means to deepen and enlarge the growing studies of the international implications of modernity, by illuminating overlooked cultural preconditions and forms of modern international relations. First, a social imaginaries approach reveals the international to be coeval with the emergence of modern social imaginaries in general, and that it has come to form their “highest” and most consistently and severely problematic realm. Second, its insight into the enabling and constraining effects of social imaginaries offers a basis for studying the horizons of the international towards a “global imaginary”. Third, unpacking the modern international imaginary offers qualitative benefits for international theory as practice.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Author
Divisions: IGA: LSE IDEAS
International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
J Political Science > JC Political theory
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CB History of civilization
Date Deposited: 13 May 2020 11:03
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2021 23:13

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