The global 'cosmopolitan' tiger, as opposed to the local 'Sundarbans tiger', has become the rallying point for urbanites' concerns for wildlife protection globally. In this piece, I look at two different representations of tigers in recent history, one colonial and the other national. This so as to highlight how representations, even of wild animals, are ultimately linked to power. This leads me to argue how today's Western-dominated ideas about tigers (a view I call 'cosmopolitan') ultimately act to the detriment of 'other' tigers because these do not allow for an engagement with alternative ways of understanding animals and wildlife. Such images, I try to show using Descola's arguments about nature and understandings of it, in turn perpetrates the coercive and unequal relationship between, in this case, those who partake of the 'cosmopolitan' tiger view versus those who live with 'wild' tigers.
David Miller has objected to the cosmopolitan argument that it is arbitrary and hence unfair to treat individuals differently on account of things for which they are not responsible. Such a view seems to require, implausibly, that individuals be treated identically even where (unchosen) needs differ. The objection is, however, inapplicable where the focus of cosmopolitan concern is arbitrary disadvantage rather than arbitrary treatment. This 'unfair disadvantage argument' supports a form of global luck egalitarianism. Miller also objects that cosmopolitanism is unable to accommodate special obligations generated by national membership. Cosmopolitanism can, however, accommodate many special obligations to compatriots. Those which it cannot accommodate are only morally compelling if we assume what the objection claims to prove - that cosmopolitanism is mistaken. Cosmopolitanism construed as global luck egalitarianism is therefore able to withstand both of Miller's objections, and has significant independent appeal on account of the unfair disadvantage argument.
In the rethinking of cosmopolitanism that has been under way in anthropology the emphasis in the European tradition of thought, pertaining to humanity in general and universal values, has been replaced by focus on specific and new cosmopolitan peoples and sites. Cosmopolitanism ceases to be only a political idea, or an ideal, and is conceptualized also in terms of practice or process. A vocabulary of 'rooted cosmopolitanism', 'vernacular cosmopolitanism' and 'actually existing cosmopolitanisms' has emerged from the characteristically anthropological acknowledgment of diversity and inevitable attachments to place. This article accepts such an approach, but argues that it has neglected the presence and intense salience of the ideas of cosmopolitanism held by nation states. Such ideologies, especially those promulgated by authoritarian states, penetrate deep into the lives and thoughts of citizens. The article draws attention to the binary and contradictory character of nation state discourse on cosmopolitanism, and to the way this creates structures of affect and desire. The Soviet concept of kosmopolitizm is analyzed. It is contextualized historically in relation to the state discourse on mobility and the practice of socialist internationalism. The article argues that although the Stalinist version of kosmopolitizm became a poisonous and anti-Semitic accusation, indeed an instrument of repression, it could not control the desire created by its own negativity. Indeed, it played a creative and integral part in the emergence of a distinctive everyday cosmopolitanism among Soviet people.
Imagining a Cosmopolitan Museology
In recent years it has been asked whether it is time to move ‘beyond the national museum’. This article takes issue with this assertion on the grounds that it misunderstands not only museums as cultural phenomenon but also the ways in which globalization, nationalism, and localism are always enmeshed and co-constitutive. The article begins by considering theories of globalization, postnationalism, and cosmopolitanism and their relevance for national museums in the European context. Specific theories of cosmopolitanism are subsequently further explored in relation to two museum examples drawn from the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and the Museum of European Cultures in Berlin. In different ways both examples demonstrate the potential for museums to engage visitors with ideas of cosmopolitanism, globalization, and postnationalism by revisiting, reframing, and reinterpreting existing national collections and displays. In the process the article makes the case for the merits of a nationally situated approach to cosmopolitanism in European museums. At the same time it acknowledges some of the potential limits to such endeavors. The article concludes by imagining what a ‘cosmopolitan museology’ would offer in terms of practice, politics, and ethics.
This paper examines the emergence in Sri Lanka of transcultural thinking about environmental issues as well as the activism it engenders by examining the role of the Anglophone Sri Lankan elite as the chief protagonists historically of environmentalism in the country. It also examines one of Sri Lanka's leading NGOs, Environmental Foundation Ltd. (EFL) as an example of the activism of this class. EFL's perspective on environmental issues has its origins in the transformations wrought by colonialism in the country's class structure and in the introduction of European ideas of nature to the country's newly emergent middle-class. Modelled on the Natural Resources Defense Council of the United States, EFL was a new kind of environmental organization in Sri Lanka and a response to globalization and Sri Lanka's increasing integration into the global economy. Unlike the handful of environmental NGOS that existed in the late seventies, which were essentially pressure groups, EFL was conceived, on the model of NRDC, as a public interest law firm, and drew on international models to frame its arguments about the application of the law in the cause of environmental protection. This paper examines how these various factors—the social class of the activists and the processes of institution building—shaped a cosmopolitan environmental discourse in Sri Lanka whose roots lie in urban Sri Lankan middle class culture as it emerged and was transformed during colonial rule and in the various discourses of globalization that have been drawn on by Sri Lankan activists to craft their own arguments.
While Ulrich Beck and Natan Sznaider advocate cosmopolitanism as a way of freeing ourselves from grand narratives and putting the subject back on the agenda of research, this article illustrates that such uses of cosmopolitanism can create more problems than they propose to solve. In the case of the Romanian Banat, the recent revival of a cosmopolitan past based on the legacy of the German and other minorities has been intricately tied up with existing cultural hierarchies. Romania has therefore utilized this past as a way of showing its “western face.“ In the Serbian Banat, by contrast, such a development has not taken place due to the absence of a dialogue with the West. As such, this article demonstrates that cosmopolitanism has become normative in its use and has created problems for both Romanian and Serbian societies.
Stephen Welch and Ruth Wittlinger
The aim of this paper is to offer a critique of the proposal of “methodological cosmopolitanism“ in theoretical terms and to substantiate this critique by providing an account of the dynamics of collective memory and identity in postunification Germany. In the first part, we look at the arguments about methodological cosmopolitanism and their derivative, the idea of cosmopolitan memory, illustrated by the case of Holocaust memory. In the second part we look at the case of Germany: firstly at its postwar experience of the attempted construction of “postnational“ identity, and then at more recent trends, contemporaneous with the Berlin Republic, towards a “normalization“ of national identity in Germany. The Holocaust plays a crucial, but different, role in each phase, we suggest. In the conclusion we return to more general themes, asking what the German case tells us about the cosmopolitanization thesis more generally.
For a doubly rooted cosmopolitan anthropology
Both inside and outside Europe, many societies have drawn on their own textual traditions to generate bodies of knowledge possessing some affinity to comparative socio-cultural anthropology. The premise of this article is that even where the focus is restricted to one country or one nationality, such “national ethnography“ should be considered as a legitimate branch of a broadly conceived anthropological field, rather than belittled or denigrated. Under socialism, both native and foreign researchers carried out fieldwork in similar rural locations in Hungary. A dialogue began, but it seems to have weakened in recent years, despite the fact that access to the region has become incomparably easier. Another change is that Hungarian students are now able to study socio-cultural anthropology as a seperate program in a separate faculty, distinct from Hungarian néprajz. This article is critical of such developments and takes the Hungarian example to argue for the benefits of institutional unification. The resulting department would be larger and more cosmopolitan than the old departments of néprajz, but it would retain its local roots. The integration of “national ethnography“ into research and teaching programs in anthropology would facilitate the persistence of distinctive national, regional, and institution-specific intellectual traditions; such departments could also facilitate the work of fieldworkers from abroad.
Cosmopolitan Learning through Hospitality in Siberia
This article focuses on the process of cosmopolitan learning among hosts in a hospitality couchsurfing network in Siberia. The data making up the empirical basis for the study were collected during fieldwork in Siberia: between 2007 and 2011 in Krasnoiarsk and Novosibirsk and from 2010 to 2012 in Irkutsk and Vladivostok. The article argues that the interactional dynamics between hosts and guests in cosmopolitan learning are determined by the combination of emotive and cognitive rewards. The primary emotional charge occurs as a result of the first interaction with the visitor, while a cognitive “bonus“ is represented by the opportunity to practice a foreign language in the home environment. In addition, hosts reflect on such aspects as the exchange of lifestyle ideas, the exposure to everyday habitual practices, and the realization of commonality and difference. These reflections leading to self-discovery in the comfort of one's own home constitute an important element in the process of cosmopolitan learning.
Mark Johnson and Suzanne Clisby
Cosmopolitans are frequently characterized as living and perceiving the world and their environment from a distance. Drawing on ethnographic work among a small group of Western migrants in Costa Rica, we complicate this portrayal in a number of ways. First, we demonstrate that these people think in similar kinds of ways as social theorists: they too are worried about living at a distance from place and are seeking what is, in their way of reckoning, a more engaged relationship with their surroundings. Second, however, we explore the social context and corollaries of these migrants' attempts to bring together a putatively "modern/cosmopolitan" way of relating to place and a "traditional/place-based" way of relating to surroundings. Specifically, we demonstrate how migrant claims to transcend the differences between "tradition" and "modernity" create new forms of social exclusion as they, both literally and figuratively, come to claim the place of "the other."