Approaches to Cosmopolitanism : Review Essay on Their History, Analysis and Application to the EU

Université Paris 1 (France)
Boucher, François;
Université Paris 1 (France)
Aubert, Isabelle;
Université Paris 1 (France)
Guérard de Latour, Sophie

In this report, we propose an analytical framework to make sense of the diverse meanings of cosmopolitanism and we use it to clarify the meaning of European cosmopolitanism. We maintain the view that the core idea of cosmopolitanism is that of a shared belonging to the world community of human beings. However, we claim that this core notion can be interpreted in relation to different dimensions of human life and human societies (moral, institutional, civic and cultural). We also show that within each of those dimensions, cosmopolitanism can be interpreted in a variety of ways. The taxonomy that we propose is thus not so much a list of rival schools of thought, but rather an analytical framework that identifies the main building blocks from which cosmopolitan theories are made of. In Chapter 1, we briefly sketch the history of this notion from the antiquity to the modern era. Among political philosophers and political theorists, the notion of cosmopolitanism has gained much popularity since the 1990s as important normative ideals such as rights, justice and democracy have been disentangled from the nation-state framework which tied them to nationality, territoriality and state sovereignty. In Chapter 2, we focus on those contemporary developments and we propose to survey how the idea of a shared belonging to a world community is declined along four dimensions: moral, institutional, civic and cultural. We also explain how the idea of membership in a worldwide community of fellow human beings is given different meanings within those dimensions of human life and human societies. In Chapter 3, we briefly survey how the idea of European cosmopolitanism (by which one should understand EU cosmopolitanism) is articulated in relation to those four dimensions and in relation to the cleavages internal to each of those dimensions.




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