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Rhythms of Global Urbanisation

Exploring Cosmopolitan Competences

Emil Abossolo Mbo and Cassis Kilian

Since global interdependencies are a feature of urbanisation, Kwame Anthony Appiah's pleading for an education in 'cosmopolitan citizenship' is forward-looking. Given increasing mobility, handling different urban rhythms is as important as dealing with different languages. Actors explore how airports, supermarkets and cemeteries react to gait, respiration and heartbeat and how people adopt or impose rhythms. Such investigations might appear superficial from an academic perspective, but they bear resemblance to ethnographic fieldwork.

We (an actor and an anthropologist) refer to the shift from participant observation to collaboration proposed by George Marcus, and conjointly explore rhythmic aspects of urbanisation, which are difficult for scholars to grasp. Our aim is to expand anthropological concepts, methods and forms of representation. In reference to Paul Stoller, we consider acting methods a 'sensuous scholarship' and argue that rhythm allows us to explore preverbal aspects of feelings of belonging or alienation in the urban space.