Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation

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Pheng Cheah, Bruce Robbins, Social Text Collective
U of Minnesota Press, 1998 - Political Science - 380 pages
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Eminent contributors look at the present and future of cosmopolitanism and its relationship to nationalism.

Nationalism and the nation-state have recently come under siege, their political dominance gradually eroding under the strain of such forces as ethnic strife, religious fundamentalism, homogenizing global capitalism, and the unprecedented movements of people and populations across cultures, countries, even cyberspace. A resurgent cosmopolitanism has emerged as a viable and alternative political project. In Cosmopolitics, a renowned group of scholars and political theorists offers the first sustained examination of that project, its inclusive and often universalist claims, and its tangled and sometimes volatile relationship to nationalism.

Understood generally as a fundamental commitment to the interests of humanity, traditional cosmopolitanism has been criticized as a privileged position, an aloof detachment from the obligations and affiliations that constrain nation-bound lives and move people to political action. Yet, as these essays make clear, contemporary cosmopolitanism arises not from a disengagement, but rather from well-defined cultural, historical, and political contexts. The contributors explore a feasible cosmopolitanism now beginning to emerge, and consider the question of whether it can or will displace nationalism, which needs to be rethought rather than dismissed as obsolete.

Intellectually provocative and erudite, this interdisciplinary volume presents a diverse array of critical perspectives, assessing both the ideal enterprise and the current realities of the rapidly developing cosmopolitical movement.


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Cosmopolitanism and the Experience of Nationality
Cosmopolitan Patriots
Flexible Citizenship among Chinese Cosmopolitans
The Borders of Europe
The Varieties of Cosmopolitan Experience
Comparative Cosmopolitanisms
Cosmopolitanism Universalism and the Divided Legacies
Revisiting the Global Village

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Cosmopolitan Vision
Ulrich Beck
Limited preview - 2006
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About the author (1998)

Bruce Robbins is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of The Servant's Hand: English Fiction from Below and the editor of Intellectuals: Aesthetics, Politics, Academics (Minnesota, 1990).

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