Cosmopolitanism Beyond Anthropocentrism: The Ecological Self and Transcivilizational Dialogue

  • John Clammer


Issues of climate change and ecological degradation have now moved to the centre of social and political discourse. Essential to this is the place of the human as within nature or in some sense above it. The notion of anthropocentrism implies that humans are the centre of the universe, not simply one species among many others occupying the planet Earth. The ecological challenge suggests that human civilization, if it is to survive and flourish, needs to develop new forms of cosmopolitanism that are not purely social and political, but are rooted in an organic relationship to nature and indeed to the cosmos as the word cosmopolitan suggests. This chapter explores the idea that new forms of planetary citizenship and cosmopolitan identity can be evolved that draw on the deep work already being done in the fields of Deep Ecology and Buddhist thinking about nature. Such a movement also has major implications for social and cultural theory in general, as it implies a position that is not purely sociological, but sees humans as an integral part of a larger natural order. As Thomas Berry has cogently argued, this is essentially the (now necessary) position of relocating the human within the community of life systems. The paper examines these possible positions to establishing a notion of planetary citizenship rooted in a close relationship to nature, relates this to its religious and extra-religious sources, and examines the idea of the ecological self as a psychological and philosophical basis for a re-thought basis of human’s relationship to the larger universe.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Clammer
    • 1
  1. 1.O.P. Jindal Global UniversitySonipatIndia

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