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Cosmopolitan Modernity

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Edited By Anastasia Marinopoulou

This book examines recent debates on the political dynamics of cosmopolitanism, particularly in its connection with European civil society and the public sphere. The aim of the volume is to trace to what extent cosmopolitanism corresponds to «second modernity», with the latter concept referring to the potential for consensus, the creation of multiple political alternatives and the recognition of otherness. The book accordingly explores questions about democratic legitimacy and the formation of social and political institutions and presents empirical research on phenomena such as global violence.
The volume is intended to constitute a cosmopolitan project in itself, comprising contributions from scholars with very diverse approaches. Together, these contributions provide a stimulating analysis of what cosmopolitanism can offer to socially and politically diverse twenty-first-century societies.
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Preface

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When Graf Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi urged the creation of the ‘United States of Europe’ in the early 1920s, some critics linked the core idea of his book Paneuropa (1923) to the typical aristocrat’s nostalgia for Europe’s imperial past. His concept was totally out of line with the principles of nationalism that had triumphantly prevailed in the First World War leading to the splitting up of four empires (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Czarist Russia and the Ottoman Empire) into a multitude of nation-states.

The belief in the existence of common values overriding the national interest sounded parochial and outdated in societies with unlimited faith in the uniqueness of nations and the organizational effectiveness of the nation-state. Federalization of the American sort was considered a threat to the newly won independence of small nations and to the balance of power among stronger nations. The political, economic and ideological conditions were clearly unfavourable to the recognition of deeply rooted common principles and interests that could unite nations on a higher supranational level of authority.

What seemed impossible in the interwar years became essential during the Second World War. The devastation caused by the war and the Nazi occupation, but also the economic breakdown of the 1930s, shook up the ideological foundations of the modern nation-state. The renovation of its mission became a central tenet of wartime and postwar plans for a new political order in Europe and the rest of the world. Coudenhove-Kalergi, still a fervent activist of Paneuropa purposes,...

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