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Introduction: the Cosmopolitan Imagination

Understanding a Shared and Plural World

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Vincenzo Cicchelli

Translator Sarah-Louise Raillard

capable of describing the complex dynamics at play in the cosmopolitan world. 2 Although cosmopolitanism has been on the rise for the past twenty-five years or so, the price of this success remains a controversial subject of research: social scientists warn that there is a high risk we will overlook the

Series:

Vincenzo Cicchelli

Translator Sarah-Louise Raillard

traditional subject of social science research — the internal dynamics of nation-states, as well as national cultures and institutions — has been significantly altered as a result of the aforementioned changes. The vast horizontal overlap created by network structures goes hand-in-hand with an unprecedented

Series:

Vincenzo Cicchelli

Translator Sarah-Louise Raillard

research on the subject demonstrating that the cultural phenomena at play in our global society simultaneously combine elements that are both global and local, universal and particular (Lechner and Boli, 2005 ; Radhakrishnan, 2010 ). 1 The World as a Totality and Global Risks The social and historical

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Vincenzo Cicchelli

Translator Sarah-Louise Raillard

abstract individual endowed with universalist aspirations to post-national democracy and citizenship (Nowicka and Rovisco, 2009 ). In reality, there is insufficient empirical evidence for the cosmopolitan subject as analysed by theoreticians (Marotta, 2010 ). The relative newness of the social phenomena

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Vincenzo Cicchelli

Translator Sarah-Louise Raillard

question. Kwame Anthony Appiah ( 2006 ) describes how the cultural boundaries of a group can become more rigidly defined by examining the following paradox: it is precisely when a cultural trait seems to become less obvious that it is subject to greater demands for recognition. European immigrants to the

Series:

Vincenzo Cicchelli

Translator Sarah-Louise Raillard

). Countries are increasingly subject to the demands of global interdependence, which manifests itself through the emergence, in global public opinion, of a cosmopolitan vision according to which ‘people see themselves both as part of an endangered world and as part of their local histories and survival

Series:

Vincenzo Cicchelli

Translator Sarah-Louise Raillard

between different points of view, a process during which individuals learn to distinguish their position from that of others, and to refer to a common subject from a variety of angles. Since intercultural dialogue is based on the desire to be recognized by others, all of the parties involved in such an