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Cosmopolitanism and the Study of German Politics

Claire Sutherland

This special issue sets out to examine aspects of German politics, philosophy,

and society through the multifaceted lens of cosmopolitanism. A complex

and contested concept, cosmopolitanism has particularly important

implications for the study of contemporary nation-states, as conventional

understandings of bounded territory and sovereignty are reassessed in the

context of globalization, migration and transnationalism. Accordingly, this

introduction aims to outline several key strands of cosmopolitan thought

with reference both to contemporary Germany and the wider global conjuncture,

in order to provide a conceptual framework for the articles that

follow. It begins by briefly placing cosmopolitanism in the context of the

evolving concepts of German Heimat (homeland) and nation, because contemporary

cosmopolitanism can only be fully understood in relation to

nationalism. It then looks at the relevance of methodological, political and

ethical cosmopolitanism for the study of nation-states today, before introducing

the five articles in the special issue.