Imagination sterilized: The workings of the global spectacle

Ruth Y Y HUNG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The theme of this essay is the immediacy of visuality, the dominant form of experience by which the species thinks itself of and in the world, as continuous with the world. Since the early years of the twenty-first century, a series of global spectacles has emerged and broken away from notions of ideology. This emergence testifies to the transformed role of the state in a globalized capital formation and the occurrence of two paradigm shifts: from the narrative to the visual, and from the image’s dominance of aesthetic representation to its dominance by global capital. The global spectacle, together with the new social media, has contributed to the creation of “visual allure” as a place to build common sense and the ethics of hedonism. It does so not only by its ability to create a more extensive level of commodity fetishism but also by virtue of its ability to map on the species an encompassing system of apparatuses in which every cultural diversity, every individual desire, and every version and vision of life become essentially a realization of one of the possibilities contained within the imagineering of the system. The global spectacles celebrate the intersections of the postindustrial financial economy and the human’s present ways of being atop a series of social and aesthetic categories that are at once privatized, social, and cultural. These categories are timeless pleasure, impulsive subjectivity, and recuperative possibilities. This essay elaborates on these categories and their complementary relations with the global spectacle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-137
Number of pages37
JournalBoundary 2
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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