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Edited by Vincenzo Cicchelli, Sylvie Octobre and Viviane Riegel

Gathering scholars from five continents, this edited book displaces the elitist image of cosmopolitan as well as the blame addressed to aesthetic cosmopolitanism often considered as merely cosmetic. By considering aesthetic cosmopolitanism as a tool to understand how individuals and social groups appropriate the sphere of culture in a global world, the authors are concerned with its operationalization on two strongly interwoven levels, macro and micro, structural and individual. Based on the discussion of theoretical perspectives and empirically grounded research (qualitative and quantitative, conducted in many countries), this volume unveils new insights, on tourism and food, architecture and museums, TV series and movies, rock, K-pop and samba, by providing resources for making sense of aesthetic preferences in a global perspective. Contributors are: Felicia Chan, Vincenzo Cicchelli, Talitha Alessandra Ferreira, Paula Iadevito, Sukhmani Khorana, Anne Krebs, Antoinette Kujilaars, Franck Mermier, Sylvie Octobre, Joana Pellerano, Rosario Radakovich, Motti Regev, Viviane Riegel, Clara Rodriguez, Leslie Sklair, Yi-Ping Eva Shi, Claire Thoumelin and Dario Verderame.

Virginie Silhouette-Dercourt, Ousseynou Saidou Sy and Dominique Desjeux

This paper focuses on the beauty and sartorial choices of young French Muslim women in the Paris area. Through biographies on their morning rituals, this article questions the notion of cosmopolitanism when it comes to their veiling practices. Research suggests that these young women, through their double presence in the world – as French citizens and as global citizens – are powerful agents of change of the dominant material culture and consumption. Their varied beauty and sartorial choices help them construct a coherent inner and outer self and manage social and gendered interactions, facilitating circulation. It is argued that wearing the hijab can be conceptualized as a new form of cosmopolitanism, neither ‘from below’ nor ‘from above’: it reframes a Eurocentric view of conflicts between religious and secular discourses in postcolonial times, as well as French fashion.

Victor Roudometof

Globalization brings forth a geographical and thematic expansion of the scope of youth studies beyond the traditional topics of delinquency, studies of generations, and subculture. Youth has emerged as a topic for cosmopolitanism studies with a widespread tendency to use cosmopolitanism as a master narrative that leaves no conceptual room for considering ‘non-cosmopolitan’ on an equal footing. The article questions whether social research should be concerned with identifying the cosmopolitanism of youth or whether it should be concerned with examinations of the glocalization of world’s youth (sub-)cultures. In the article’s last section, I outline a research agenda that focuses upon the relationship between the world’s youth (sub-)cultures, on the one hand, and glocalization and trans-localization, on the other. Use of these concepts offers important insights into the youth's cultural practices and is an alternative to the master narrative of cosmopolitanization.

Do ‘Global Generations’ Exist?

From Mannheim to Beck and Beyond

Christopher Thorpe and David Inglis

There is today persistent debate in journalism and politics about social generations. Social scientists point out that young(er) people across the planet today seem to be in increasingly similar socio-economic, political and cultural situations. These involve shared forms of experience, as well as means of dealing with often highly challenging circumstances. A major debate at the intersection of social theory, globalization studies and youth studies is whether it makes sense to say that ‘younger’ people across the world today constitute one single ‘global generation’. Such ideas have been promoted by leading social theorists like Bryan S. Turner and Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim. The analysis of social generations stretches back to Karl Mannheim’s pioneering statements in the 1920s. It has been argued that the Mannhemian tradition is in many ways outdated, and needs to be subjected to profound refurbishment, so that it may better understand cross-border, trans-national, ‘cosmopolitan’ phenomena, involving global generations and the forces and mechanisms which create them. This paper argues that claims about ‘global generations’ made by the theorists are muddled, especially in terms of conflating generations and age cohorts, and are often deterministic. The problems derive partly from imperfect readings and usages of Mannheim’s original ideas. It is shown that these are much more ‘cosmopolitan’ and attuned to cultural phenomena than critics allege. While the paper is sceptical as to the potential of the global generations concept in general, nonetheless the ongoing relevance of Mannheim for future endeavours to improve uses of it are underlined.

Sonia Bookman and Tiffany Hall

In this paper, we consider how global brands, through their growing involvement with corporate social responsibility, facilitate expressions of everyday, moral cosmopolitanism among youth. Focusing on the brands toms and H&M, we use a case study approach to examine how the brands establish contexts of consumption that support cosmopolitan performances – ways of being, feeling, or acting cosmopolitan with the brand. We also use Instagram research to explore how young people activate such cosmopolitan affordances through online activity. Focusing on the moral dimensions of cosmopolitan consumption, we contribute to existing work on aesthetic cosmopolitanism among youth by charting the different ways in which young people also express moral cosmopolitan ideals through their engagement with global brands. The paper provides a critical reflection on branded moral cosmopolitanism, outlining its contradictions, while drawing attention to the complexity of young people’s moral consumer cosmopolitanisms, as they emerge through entanglements of global brands, csr, consumption, and young people’s existing and aspirational orientations, interests, and lifestyles.

Pam Nilan

Indonesian activist students are highly conscious of the environmental risks facing Indonesia and the world. Yet they also want to make good lives for themselves in a nation experiencing strong economic growth. Using the work of Ulrich Beck, this paper examines the accounts of environmental engineering students at a prestigious university who are pro-environmental activists on campus. In interviews, they admitted that it will be difficult to negotiate a lucrative career after graduation while maintaining their environmental idealism. Even though they feel a moral responsibility of care, not only towards nature, but towards the poor of the nation, they are epistemologically anchored to the technocratic tenets of their degree. Moreover, they want to make a successful life. The paper contributes to our understanding of how youth in the Global South engage with the discourse of environmentalism while negotiating the postmillennium risk society.

Vincenzo Cicchelli and Sylvie Octobre

Youth and Globalization is an academic forum for discussion and exchanges, a space for intellectual creativity on all questions relating to youth in a globalizing world. Its aim is to provide an innovative understanding of youth studies in a global context based on multiscalar, multilevel, multisite, and multidisciplinary approaches. Young people both are affected by and are the actors of the globalization of everyday life. Drawing on both theoretical and empirical research, the journal explores how young people relate to globality and its outcomes.

To open this discussion, the Journal starts with an issue devoted to understanding the global generation through the lenses of the cosmopolitan approach. It discusses four major criticisms and provides a counter position to. In the first case, cosmopolitanism is too often considered as a natural consequence of globalization, while in the second as being too ethnocentric. In the third case, cosmopolitanism has been assimilated to the ideology of contemporary global capitalism and in the fourth case it is mocked as a mere utopia. The papers gathered here investigate values, norms, behaviors and practices related to esthetic, cultural, ethic and political cosmopolitanisms.

Bjørn Schiermer and Ben Gook

Motti Regev

This article offers a sociological framework for understanding the functioning of pop-rock music, in its plentiful genres, styles and related phenomena through the years, as an agent in thrusting cosmopolitan youth identities, and thereby cultural cosmopolitanism in general. The article develops the notion of a global cultural market of youth identities, created by the structural emergence of ‘youth’ as an age based social category in modern societies. Following a discussion of cultural cosmopolitanism and an elaboration on the nature of pop-rock music as a global meta-category of musicking, the article discusses the functioning of pop-rock as a realm of content and meaning for youth identities across the world. This is developed and illustrated through the concept of aesthetic cultures of pop-rock; and by a focus on the notion of pop-rock knowledge.