Cosmopolitanism and Place

Cosmopolitanism and Place

Cosmopolitanism and Place

Cosmopolitanism and Place


Addressing perspectives about who "we" are, the importance of place and home, and the many differences that still separate individuals, this volume reimagines cosmopolitanism in light of our differences, including the different places we all inhabit and the many places where we do not feel at home. Beginning with the two-part recognition that the world is a smaller place and that it is indeed many worlds, Cosmopolitanism and Place critically explores what it means to assert that all people are citizens of the world, everywhere in the world, as well as persons bounded by a universal and shared morality.


We live in an increasingly interconnected world. It is a world of global manufacturing and trade, international travel and almost instant communication, shared climate change and epidemics, and far-flung wars and campaigns of terror. and it is a world of different languages, different narratives, different standards of living. Nations and their borders and boundaries mark us differently as citizens or tourists or immigrants or refugees or homeless.

What is the place of a cosmopolitan morality or politics or culture in this world? What is required of us, and what is possible for us, if we adopt a cosmopolitan worldview that holds that human beings are citizens of the cosmos, equally everywhere citizens, and that there is a universal morality that binds us collectively to care for and respect one another? Should we be cosmopolitans in our feeling and thinking? Should we be cosmopolitans in our actions and institutions? If so, why and how?

Moreover, what is the place of cosmopolitanism in a world of different places—a world ions, and different languages, lineages, and cultures? What can be the status of cosmopolitanism in a world of plural places—most of which, for any particular person, are not home? How might it be possible to articulate and adopt a cosmopolitanism that begins with the reality of place, of multiple places?

The chapters in this volume take up these questions. They address and reconstruct the meaning and value of cosmopolitanism and its moral, political, economic, and cultural challenges to us—both individually and collectively. in doing so, they provide critical perspectives on who “we” are. They also address the importance of place and of differences that cannot be universalized, including the experience of home and community, ignorance of one’s own place, and threats to and loss of place. Finally, the chapters here strive to reimagine cosmopolitanism in terms of homelessness rather than home, hope rather than knowledge, pluralism rather than universalism, multiple differences and contestations rather than commonalities, and an agenda for practice rather than an antecedent truth.

It is not possible to avoid these questions of cosmopolitanism and place. Even their evasion will not make them vanish. It also is not possible to answer these questions finally and for all. This volume makes no pretense of doing so. It aims simply to critically clarify thinking and its traditions, to expand our . . .

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