I set up this blog in the hope of creating a research network on the idea of cosmopolitanism. For the moment there is not much content since I am still developing the general structure of this site. I intend to develop on other researchers’ themes and findings, provide reviews of the most notable literature in the field, and cast my own ideas and findings. This includes primarily cosmopolitanism on an epistemological and ontological level, but also coincidentally nationalism and patriotism, and through this empirical research more theoretical considerations on method in the history of ideas. I also add a page on cosmopolitan experiences, mainly a reflection on my own experience in relation to other people and events around the world.

My own research using Foucault’s archaeology as a tool to study the idea of cosmopolitanism led me to envisage it as a located discourse in Western political thought, and as such it is dependent on the dominant discourse since the nineteenth century, i.e. nationalism. As such, much of what we understand as cosmopolitanism has been developed in what Ulrich Beck calls methodological nationalism. If ideas are the product of wars, then surely, cosmopolitanism as a minority idea is the product of the dominant one — nationalism. This is why I call this a national-cosmopolitanism.

However, recent trends in political theory have led to different conceptions of cosmopolitanism, mainly under the influence of Jürgen Habermas’ turn to communication instead of reason. In the second age of modernity, cosmopolitanism appears less feasible as a universal ideal. If “worlds too are imagined”, then cosmopolitanism is also located in a particular discourse. As such, it can only be, in its universal aspiration, the imposition of this particular discourse onto other ones.

There is thus a double difficulty with cosmopolitanism: ontological and epistemological. If we want to build cosmopolitanism we need to understand its past. But in order to do so, we must know what it is. Both activities are thus related. Philosophers and historians should gather around this peculiar philosophy, and this is what this blog wants to provide: a platform for exchanges, communications on cosmopolitanism. In the end it is hoping to contribute to the formation of a cosmopolitan cosmopolitanism.

Everyone is free to participate by writing comments.

Best wishes,


3 Responses to About

  1. abenyusuf says:

    Cher ami,

    Merci pour ta visite, ton lien de réciprocité, qui est aujourd’hui une belle façon de développer un étiquette de la Toile, et pour ton commentaire qui me flatte.
    J’ai trouvé ton blog à travers le tag “Otherness”, qui m’ amené à ton commentaire de l’essai de Todorov. Le système de wordpress.com facilite énormément le rajout de liens dans le blogroll, et j’ai pensé que le tien méritait, tout au moins, un coup d’oeil supplémentaire, si ce n’est que parce que le sujet du cosmopolitisme est aussi riche que prometteur.
    Je crois comprendre que tu habites à Vienne, ville avec Paris et Londres qui détient un des passés les plus revisités par l’art et la construction politique d’un imaginaire de l’Europe d’après les charniers. Comme j’ai pu visiter à plusieurs reprises cette ville, je serai heureux de lire dans ton blog des futures divagations écrites sur le Ring, la Stefansplatz ou le troisième homme.

    Meilleures amitiés,
    Abdullah A.

  2. tal donahue says:

    I am currently an undergraduate history & classics student. At the moment I’m writing my dissertation on the influence of the West (principally Britain and America) on nineteenth century Jerusalem and whether this period of sustained international interest either helped develop or destroy the city’s cosmopolitan potential. It cannot be doubted that Jerusalem holds a status unlike any other city in the world as a force for simultaneously uniting and dividing. There is potential here to discuss the development of Ottoman tolerance, Western ‘liberal-imperialism’ and the cosmopolitanism associated with the monotheistic religions.
    Any information/hints you think would be pertinent would be much appreciated! And, if you want, I can keep you posted with my own work and theories.

  3. Hi there,
    It sounds like a great topic. Is it your BA dissertation?
    Unfortunately, I am acquainted neither with the period or the place.
    Are you focusing more on the historical and social aspect or the intellectual one? I am more into intellectual history. If you expand a little bit more, I may have a better idea about your project and perhaps give you some interesting directions. I also think I can learn from your project. I’m focusing on the “birth” of what could be called “Western modern cosmopolitanism”, or just “modern cosmopolitanism”, during the 18th century, particularly in France, and a little in Germany. Indeed, there is a liberal imperialism attached to it. Let me know about your project.

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