Academic journal article Development and Society

In Commemoration of the Legacy of Ulrich Beck: Theory of Migration and Methodological Cosmopolitanism

Academic journal article Development and Society

In Commemoration of the Legacy of Ulrich Beck: Theory of Migration and Methodological Cosmopolitanism

Article excerpt


Ulrich Beck has played a fundamental role in the evolution of international sociology by first producing the concept of the society of risk which has provoked important debates around the notions of reflexive modernity, the growing individuation in contemporary societies, forms of exposure, adaptation and inequality to a plurality of risks, giving a central place to science and technology. Gradually he will denounce the methodological nationalism at the foundation of Western sociologies to think the ?cosmopolitan change? and propose the paradigm of methodological cosmopolitanism by discussing very deeply with non-Western international sociological figures such as Han Sang Jin, Young Hee-Shim, Chang Kyung Sup, Midori Ito, Suzuki Munenori, Shijuro Yasawa ...

In the course of these discussions we propose to continue the discussion about methodological cosmopolitanism from the theory of migrations, based on research on new migrants, cosmopolitics and inegal individuation. In this article we will first discuss the relations between cosmopolitanism, reflexive modernity and individuation, and then introduce the paradigm of PostWestern Sociology in dialogue with methodological cosmopolitanism. We will then introduce the question of the cosmopolitan condition to think of the fabric of the biopolitics and the subpolitics before dealing with migratory careers, inegalitarian cosmopolitanism and global expulsions. The theoritical challenge is how to think of the dynamics, the coexistence and the simultaneity of the processes of violence, segregation, expulsion of new migrants and the production of new biopolitics and new subpolitics in a context of humanitarian crisis in struggling any form of methodological nationalism.1

Theory of Migration and Methodological Cosmopolitanism

The sociology of migration requires deconstruction of the universal, eurocentric and hegemonic categories; it questions the universalist-western vision of the social sciences, and henceforth requires us to think of transnational movements and local anchorages. In this perspective, Ulrick Beck's (2004) paradigm of methodological cosmopolitanism methodology really meant a ?cosmopolitan turn? to think of mobilities, circulations and migrations in the context of globalization.

Migration, globalization and reflexive modernity

According to Beck (2004), globalization is ?a process by which sovereign nation-states are interwoven and interwoven through transnational actors and their capacities for power, their orientations and identities?. Cosmopolitanism then characterizes reflexive modernity in which the boundaries specific to nation-states are renegotiated. In the cosmopolitan perspective ecological and economic risks, crises of humanitarianism, and ?community of civilizational destiny? are embedded.

Mobilities continue to accelerate and circulation has intensified over the last twenty years. The migrant or ?cosmopolitan? today is an emblematic figure of the transformations of local and global social, economic and political orders. More and more migrants move, circulate, return and take on different migratory routes; they acquire experiences and are often put to the test in their social, ethnic and gender identities. Because of economic crisis, ethnic conflicts and wars in different countries, asylum seekers, refugees, new migrants ... the geography of migratory spaces reveals new centralities and new economic and political peripheries between which transnational, diasporic, ethnic but also intracontinental lines of networking are emerging.

So what about the new "communities of civilisational destiny" -in the sense of Ulrich BeckIn

reflexive modernity because new migrants, more and more asylum seekers, refugees, "humanitarian governments", new horizons of coexistence and coordination unfold and public arenas are opened by institutional actors, intermediate actors and citizens. And subpolitics-it means civil organizations active in society (typical of reflexive modernity) and transnational institutions (Beck 1997)-produce new social solidarities, but also new inequalities and new moral boundaries in European society. …

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