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Cosmopolitan Modernity


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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2. Cosmopolitization and the Prospects of a Cosmopolitan Modernity


← 72 | 73 → PIET STRYDOM

2 Cosmopolitization and the Prospects of a Cosmopolitan Modernity


The concept of cosmopolitan modernity gives rise to the question of whether or to what extent modernity has taken on a cosmopolitan quality. While the word cosmopolitanism made its initial appearance in the late Hellenistic period, the idea has indeed become closely associated with modernity since the eighteenth century. In the literature, this led many a writer to assume that modern society has already gone a considerable distance on the path toward acquiring a cosmopolitan character. Since its emergence, however, modernity has passed through a number of phases in the course of which cosmopolitanism has had a chequered career. Having been given its modern formulation in the late eighteenth century, it languished largely in oblivion during the intermediate epoch of nationalism and national and world wars, until it was given a new lease of life by the expansion of international law to include human rights and by the transformation of the process of societal development from modernization to globalization in the twentieth century. This global shift brought with it the awareness that, far from being confined to Europe or even the West, modernity actually exists in multiple permutations across the globe. What this uneven developmental profile suggests is the necessity to pay much closer attention to the process by which a potential cosmopolitan condition is being realized. It is only in the context of an analysis focused on this process...

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