Cosmopolitans and Locals

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Cosmopolitans and locals
"If there were only locals in the world, world culture would be no more than the sum of its separate parts". Hannerz 1990:249
Ulf Hannerz (1990) argues that the world culture is created through the increasing interconnectedness of varied local cultures where people connect in different ways. He uses Robert Merton's cosmopolitan-local distinctions in a global context, to describe how people identify themselves with the global or not. The term `cosmopolitan' is often used rather loosely to describe just about anybody who moves around in the world. But of such people, Hannerz argue some would seem more cosmopolitans than others and others again hardly cosmopolitans at all. He describes a genuine cosmopolitanism as first of all an orientation - a willingness to engage with the other. The willingness to become involved with the other, and the concern with achieving competence in cultures, which are initially alien, is central. Being on the move is not enough to turn into a cosmopolitan. Due to this Hannerz ask a crucial question: Are tourists, exiles, business people and labour migrants cosmopolitans? And if not: Why? A contemporary writer, Paul Theroux (1986), comments that many people travel for the purpose of `home plus'. They seem cosmopolitans but are really locals at heart. Spain is home plus sunshine, India is home plus servants etc. For business people travel is ideally home plus more and better business. The `plus' has often nothing to do with alien systems of meaning, and a lot to do with facts of nature, such as nice beaches or sunshine. The exiles are often no real cosmopolitan either, because their involvement with an alien culture is something that has been forced on them. At best, life in another country is home plus safety or home plus freedom. For labour migrants going away may be home plus higher income and their involvement with another culture is a necessary cost to be kept as low as possible (Hannerz 1990)....
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