Cosmopolitans and Locals in World Culture

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Hannerz, Ulf (1990) ”Cosmopolitans and Locals in World Culture”. Theory, Culture and Society Vol. 7, pp. 237-251 (also reprinted in Featherstone)

World culture is marked by an organization of diversity rather than by a replication of uniformity. (237)

The world has become one network of social relationships. (237)

People can relate in different ways to global interconnected diversity. For one thing, there are cosmopolitans, and there are locals.

What was cosmopolitan in the early 1940s may be counted a moderate form of localism now. (237)

In this article, Hannzer explores cosmopolitanism as a perspective, a state of mind, or a mode of meaning. (238)

Historically we have been used to thinking of cultures as distinctive structures of meaning and meaningful form closely linked with territories (usually). And we have thought of individuals as self-evidently linked to particular cultures. The underlying assumption here is that culture flows mostly in face-to-face relationships, and that people do not move around much. (238) This assumption serves to delineate the local as an ideal type. Yes as collective phenomena, cultures are by definition linked primarily to interactions and social relationships, and only indirectly and without logical necessity to particular areas in physical space. We can contrast those cultures which are territorially defined (in terms of nations, regions or localities) with those which are carried as collective structures of meaning by networks more extended in space, transnational or even global. (239)

”The perspective of the cosmopolitan must entail relationships to a plurality of cultures understood as distinctive entities.” (239) Cosmopolitanism in a stricted sense includes a stance toward diversity itself, toward the coexistence of cultures in the individual experience. A more genuine cosmopolitanism is first of all an orientation, a willingness to engage with the Other. It is an intellectual and aesthetic stance of...
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