Debating Cosmopolitanism: A New Appraisal of Globalization

  • Vincenzo Cicchelli
  • Sylvie Octobre
Part of the Europe in a Global Context book series (EGC)


The cosmopolitan approach is both analytical and normative; it is a statement and an aspiration, a fact and a moral concern (Holton 2009). Authors use “cosmopolitanism” as both a descriptive and a prescriptive term (Roudometof 2005). Instead of arguing for or against cosmopolitanism, we propose the use of cosmopolitanism as a specific perspective from which to understand the transnational processes shaping a global society which requires a new sociological perspective: a cosmopolitan sociology. Consequently, the question addressed in this chapter is both general and specific. It is general because it inevitably covers a number of commonalities that are shared by authors who are actively engaged in promoting cosmopolitanism as a sociological tool. It is specific because we attempt to show that there is some credibility to the view that cosmopolitan sociology is a heuristic way to understand how human individuals, communities and institutions relate to globality and its outcomes (Cotesta et al. 2013). There is certainly a revived interest in cosmopolitanism today. However, powerful and compelling as it is, the notion of cosmopolitanism should be approached with care lest it turn into an autopoietic narrative, separated from empirical evidence. Cosmopolitanism invites more controversy than consensus (Skrbis and Woodward 2013) and, even for sympathetic souls, it “poses a congeries of paradoxes” (Appiah 2006: 214).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincenzo Cicchelli
    • 1
  • Sylvie Octobre
    • 2
  1. 1.Université Paris DescartesParisFrance
  2. 2.Ministère de la CultureParisFrance

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