Today, cosmopolitanism can be identified with ideas, practices and representations that are among our most important resources as we grapple with the pressures of a globalized world. The book, in assessing cosmopolitanism as a cause, argues that justifications and critiques of the cosmopolitan are shaped as much by political and cultural forces as by the distinctive philosophical tradition in which they are situated. The volume brings together a series of case studies, both historical accounts of the vicissitudes and the legacies of the cosmopolitan outlook, and critical analyses of a range of spheres – political and social theory, film, literature – where cosmopolitanism can be both an asset and something of a problem.
Cosmopolitanism calls for an exploration, both critical and theoretical, of the ways in which it constitutes a specific set of dispositions as well as an engagement with the objections and qualifications through which it has been reshaped as a concept. The collection also places a decisive emphasis on the symbolic dimension of intimations of the cosmopolitan in modern and contemporary literature and film, so documenting transformations to which it continues to be subject.