Cosmopolitanism's Theoretical and Substantive Dimensions

Authored by: Fuyuki Kurasawa

Routledge International Handbook of Contemporary Social and Political Theory

Print publication date:  March  2011
Online publication date:  March  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415548250
eBook ISBN: 9780203875575
Adobe ISBN: 9781135997946


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Over the last decade or so, cosmopolitanism has become one of the most significant and disputed concepts in social and political theory. Indeed, it acts simultaneously as an analytical nodal point through which several key theoretical questions are intersecting and as a normative horizon that fosters new lines of thought. If the idea of being a citizen of the world has lengthy historical antecedents, its return to prominence is attributable to a number of developments: accelerating and intensifying processes of globalization and transculturalism, challenges to the Westphalian state system, the search for alternatives to the thesis of a clash of civilizations, the hegemony of neoliberal capitalism, the prevalence of discourses of universal human rights, and the reproduction of global injustices, inter alia. Cosmopolitanism, then, has been at the core of a massive rethinking of the modern human sciences’ implicit nation-state-centrism, whether in methodological (what is the proper unit of analysis?), sociological (what are the boundaries of societies and the social?), political (what kinds of postnational institutional configurations are possible?), or ethical (what are the limits to our moral communities?) terms.

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