The Language of a Globalized World: Naming the Present Day and Its Worlds

Reference work entry


Both as a species and its individual representatives, humankind has always been confronted with time and space, in the face of which it is, truth be told, powerless. But homo sapiens is also a categorizing (homo categoricus) and naming being (homo nominans). By dividing up and naming time and space, humanity attempts to strengthen its position in relation to eternity and infinity, to manifest its autonomy from them. At least in the short term this is a rational strategy, because the distinguishing and naming of phenomena gives at least the illusion of control over them. The first part of this chapter discusses the names by which the present day is frequently designated, as well as proposed new divisions and terms. Designations considered here include: modernity, postmodernity and related terms, the Industrial Age, the Anthropocene, the Smenocene, the Atomic Age, the post-Cold War era, the postwar era, and the Paris international order. The second part of the article focuses on the contemporary language of global development, including the question of the current usefulness of “big” terms such as “Third World,” “developing countries,” “North,” and “South.”


Time Space Divisions Names Present day 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geography and Regional StudiesUniversity of WarsawWarsawPoland

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