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Cartographies of Differences

Interdisciplinary Perspectives


Ulrike M. Vieten and Gill Valentine

This volume investigates the process of learning how to live with individual and group differences in the twenty-first century and examines the ambivalences of contemporary cosmopolitanism. Engaging with the concept of ‘critical cartography’, it emphasizes the structural impact of localities on the experiences of those living with difference, while trying to develop an account of the counter-mappings that follow spatial and social transformations in today’s world. The contributors focus on visual, normative and cultural embodiments of difference, examining dynamic conflicts at local sites that are connected by the processes of Europeanization and globalization.
The collection explores a wide range of topics, including conflicting claims of sexual minorities and conservative Christians, the relationship between national identity and cosmopolitanism, and the ways that cross-cultural communication and bilingualism can help us to understand the complex nature of belonging. The authors come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and all contribute to a vernacular reading of cosmopolitanism and transnationalism, aimed at opening up new avenues of research into living with difference.
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National Belonging in Cosmopolitan Times

← 84 | 85 →NICHOLA WOOD


ABSTRACT: The role of the nation in the contemporary cosmopolitan era is hotly contested. In some quarters the nation is perceived to be a divisive relic which needs to be replaced by a more inclusive cosmopolitan alternative. Elsewhere the nation is assumed to have taken-for-granted cohesive qualities which can be used to address the challenges of living in an era of super-mobility and super-diversity. I argue that neither of these polarised positions is helpful and that a more nuanced and emotionally attentive understanding of nation is required. I begin by arguing that current engagements with the nature and contemporary significance of nations are curiously narrow. Then, drawing on my work on the emotional geographies of ‘Scottishness’, I demonstrate why we need a more meaningful engagement with the nation and suggest one possible route – an engagement with the practices and emotional experiences of nation – through which this might be achieved.

Academic literature on nation, nationalism and national identity has traditionally been a minefield of competing and contradictory opinion. Ongoing debates around fundamental questions including, for example, the age and origins of nation (in both abstract and specific terms) and the relationships between ‘banal’ and ‘hot’ forms of nationalism (Jones and Merriman 2009) are, in part, what makes this area of scholarship so vibrant and engaging. Over the past two decades or so, in light of the increasing impact of globalisation, debates have broadened to consider the role and significance of the nation and national affiliations in a world which...

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