Cosmopolitanism and the clash of civilizations

Authored by: Bryan S. Turner

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138288621
eBook ISBN: 9781315267784
Adobe ISBN:


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Insofar as human beings live in communities and small groups, the world is constructed around insiders and outsiders. While this is one inevitable source of conflict and violence, it is also the root of the ethics of hospitality. Cosmopolitanism, although in many respects a child of the Enlightenment, has a long history in human societies as hospitality toward the stranger. Its intellectual elaboration owes much to Kant and Hegel, but it flourished with globalization as an answer to growing social and cultural pluralism. However, in the contemporary world, the economic crisis of 2008–2011 has produced a political backlash against globalization and global elites in which populist parties have rejected migrants, cultural diversity, and social difference. The prospects for cosmopolitanism have been severely challenged. Can religious and legal universalism provide some defense of cosmopolitan virtue?

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