Translation and cosmopolitanism

Authored by: Esperança Bielsa

The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Politics

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138657564
eBook ISBN: 9781315621289
Adobe ISBN:


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The social and political significance of translation is becoming increasingly recognized across disciplines and domains, in areas such as global democracy, human rights and social movements. Cosmopolitanism, which has received renewed attention in the social sciences and the humanities in relation to increased global interconnectedness, is one key area in which translation in a broader social context is being explored. This chapter theorizes the intersection between translation and cosmopolitanism, reflecting on the central importance of translation in some key approaches to cosmopolitanism and on what cosmopolitanism can contribute to theoretical, methodological and empirical development in the study of translation. It approaches translation as much more than the linguistic transfer of information from one language to another. Widely defined as the experience of the foreign, that is, a social process that mobilizes our whole relationship to the other, translation appears as a material, concrete practice through which cosmopolitanism, conceived as openness to the world and to others, can be empirically examined. After having thus conceptualized translation in a cosmopolitan context, the chapter discusses a diversity of contributions on cosmopolitanism as a political philosophy, on cultural and artistic cosmopolitanism, and on the cosmopolitanism of ordinary migrants, with special attention to the role of translation. Finally, some relevant implications of a conception of cosmopolitanism as translation are outlined.

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