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Empathy in the Global World

Empathy in the Global World
An Intercultural Perspective

First Edition

November 2009 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

The first book to examine the nature, practices, and potential of empathy for understanding and addressing human problems on a global scale

Violence and acts of hatred worldwide—from the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 to wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Darfur, and Palestine—call attention to the critical importance of empathy in human affairs. Empathy in the Global World examines the role of compassion in decision making, how it is communicated via the media, and how it affects global problems such as poverty and environmental disasters. Ideal for undergraduate and graduate students, politicians, and reformers, this important work helps readers understand the workings of empathy—the bedrock of intercultural communication—as it demonstrates the importance of understanding the role of compassion in addressing international challenges.

Key Features

  • Offers historical and cultural analysis into an array of topics, from the genesis of empathy to 21st- century discourse and practices of the concept
  • Takes readers beyond existing ways of looking at empathy into such areas as geopolitics, global class issues, the world of NGOs, and national disasters
  • Explores what it is like to grapple with terrorism, Israeli-Arab relations, and other audacious events that shape human thought
  • Clarifies and connects issues through stories and examples of empathetic and non-empathetic practices across a range of cultures

Intended Audience

Empathy in the Global World: An Intercultural Perspective is ideal for a wide range of courses, including Conflict/Negotiation/Mediation, Intercultural Communication, and Interpersonal Communication.

1. A Global Imperative: The Unveiling of Empathy
2. The Creation of Empathy: From Ancients to Moderns
3. Geopolitics: The Spoils of Empathy
4. Immigration: Empathy’s Flickering Flames?
5. Crafting Images: Media and Empathy
6. Catastrophes, Tsunamis, and Katrinas
7. “I Didn’t Do It for You:” Organizations, Class, and Poverty
8. Empathetic Literacy: Come, Shout About It?

The idea of 'empathy' is too often lost amidst the psychological concepts of altruism, the sociological concept of 'philanthropy' or the social norm of 'kindness'. Empathy is useful for understanding all of the above, but it also sits apart from them as a unique human response that is often visceral and painful. When Galloway-Thomas describes the associative nature of empathy in relation to racism, natural disasters, class, and, in particular, governmental response, she encourages the reader to step outside of their own characteristics (or take off our 'invisible knapsack' of privileges as Peggy McIntosh describes it) and assess how certain narratives of the lives of certain groups of people are simple 'absent' from general discussion, ignored in the media or downplayed.

This book is especially useful for teaching as it provides at the end an agenda or 'set of rules' for empathetic behaviour that are useful to critique in a classroom setting.

Dr Triona Fitton
Social Policy , Sociology & Social Rsch, University of Kent
December 10, 2015

Good supplementary reading for students in the class.

February 24, 2011

Excellent for understanding celebrity, emotion affect and non profit aspects of media

Dr Joanne Garde-Hansen
Communications and Media Production, University of Gloucestershire
September 14, 2010

Really interesting; gives an alternative perspective which is informal and pleasant. A new, current and relevant light on the topic.

Miss Kate Steabler
HE Care, Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education
March 19, 2010