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Cosmopolitanism

Binnie, Jon and Holloway, Julian and Millington, Steve and Young, Craig (2009) Cosmopolitanism. In: International encyclopedia of human geography. Elsevier, pp. 307-313. ISBN 9780080449111

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Abstract

Cosmopolitanism is a broad-ranging term in sociopolitical and moral philosophy, which has been much debated in human geography and the social sciences. Cosmopolitanism is generally associated with the concept that all of humanity should belong to a single community which transcends other forms of allegiance, such as the nation-state or sources of sociocultural identity. Thus, cosmopolitanism is commonly seen as a normative project underpinned by ideas of universal standards of morality, political action, and law which define a condition of ‘world citizenship’. However, it is also true that different senses of cosmopolitanism are performed through the embodied social experiences of individuals and groups in different sociospatial contexts. Thus, there are multiple cosmopolitanisms which arise in a number of different ways in different contexts. This proliferation of cosmopolitanisms challenges its viability as a prescriptive normative concept which will lead to new forms of global consciousness and international institutional cooperation. Instead, it may be that forms of cosmopolitanism are more likely to arise as the inadvertent side effects of the increasingly transnational nature of the world.

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