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Craig J. Calhoun - The Class Consciousness of Frequent Travelers: Toward a Critique of Actually Existing Cosmopolitanism - The South Atlantic Quarterly 101:4 The South Atlantic Quarterly 101.4 (2002) 869-897

The Class Consciousness of Frequent Travelers:
Toward a Critique of Actually Existing Cosmopolitanism

Craig Calhoun

Some claim that the world is gradually becoming united, that it will grow into a brotherly community as distances shrink and ideas are transmitted through the air. Alas, you must not believe that men can be united in this way.

—Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (1880)

A certain attenuated cosmopolitanism had taken place of the old insular home-feeling.

—Thomas Carlyle, The Life of Robert Burns (1820)

Among the great struggles of man—good/evil, reason/unreason, etc.—there is also this mighty conflict between the fantasy of Home and the fantasy of Away, the dream of roots and the mirage of the journey.

—Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet (2000)

On September 11, terrorists crashing jets into the World Trade Center and Pentagon struck a blow against cosmopolitanism—perhaps more successfully than against their obvious symbolic targets, the unequal structures of global capitalism and political power. They precipitated a renewal of state-centered politics and a "war on terrorism" seeking military rather than law enforcement solutions to crime. Moved by [End Page 869] Wahabbi Islamic Puritanism and sheltered by Afghanistan's Taliban, they seemed to exemplify a simplistic opposition between backward traditionalists and Western modernism. That Muslims had long been stereotyped as the bad other to globalization only made it easier for Westerners to accept this dubious framing of the events, and made it harder for them to see a clash between different modernist projects, to miss the evidently popular message that "technology can be our weapon too."

One need be no friend to terrorism to be sorry that the dominant response to the terrorist attacks has been framed as a matter of war rather than crime, an attack on America rather than an attack on humanity. What could have been an occasion for renewing the drive to establish an international criminal court and multilateral institutions needed for law enforcement quickly became an occasion for America to demonstrate its power and its allies to fall in line with the "war on terrorism." Militarism gained and civil society lost not only on September 11 but in the response that followed. 1 This was true domestically as well as internationally, as the United States and other administrations moved to sweep aside protections for the rights of citizens and immigrants alike and strengthen the state in pursuit of "security."

In this context, the cosmopolitan ideals articulated during the 1990s seem all the more attractive but their realization much less immanent. It is important not only to mourn this, but to ask in what ways the cosmopolitan vision itself was limited—overoptimistic, perhaps, more attentive to certain prominent dimensions of globalization than to equally important others. In the wake of the cold war, it seemed to many political theorists and public actors that the moment had finally arrived not just for Kantian perpetual peace but for cosmopolitanism to extend beyond mere tolerance to the creation of a shared global democracy. It seemed easy to denigrate states as old-fashioned authorities of waning influence and to extol the virtues of international civil society. It was perhaps a weakness of this perspective that the myriad dimensions of globalization all seemed evidence of the need for a more cosmopolitan order, and therefore the tensions among them were insufficiently examined. Likewise, the cosmopolitanism of democratic activists was not always clearly distinct from that of global corporate leaders, though the latter would exempt corporate property from democratic control. Just as protesters against the World Trade Organization (WTO) often portrayed themselves as "antiglobalization," even though they formed a global social movement, advocates of cosmopolitan [End Page 870] institutions often sounded simply proglobalization rather than sufficiently discriminating among its forms.

In a sense, the noncosmopolitan side of globalization struck back on September 11. Migrants whose visions of their home cultures were more conservative and ideological than the originals figured prominently. Indeed, most of the terrorists were Arabs who had spent considerable time studying in the West—even at seemingly cosmopolitan Oxford, in the case of Osama bin Laden. A dark side to globalization was brought to light: criminal activity and flows of weapons, people, ideas, money, and drugs that challenged state authority but hardly in the name of international civil society, and sometimes financed terrorist networks. At the same time, the sharp inequalities masked by cosmopolitan ideals—and especially the use of cosmopolitan rhetoric by neoliberal corporate leaders whose actions contribute to those inequalities—challenged efforts to "solve" terrorism as a problem separate from others.

This essay is an effort to examine some of the limits and biases of the cosmopolitan theory that flourished in the 1990s. It is written not in rejection of cosmopolitanism, but as a challenge to think through more fully what sorts of social bases have shaped cosmopolitan visions and what sorts of issues need more attention if advances in democracy are to be made. What experiences make cosmopolitan democracy an intuitively appealing approach to the world? What experiences does it obscure from view? I want also to consider how much the political theory of cosmopolitanism is shaped by liberalism's poorly drawn fight with communitarianism and thus left lacking a strong account of solidarity. This impedes efforts to defend the achievements of previous social struggles against neoliberal capitalism, or to ground new political action. Finally, I wish to offer a plea for the importance of the local and particular—not least as a basis for democracy, no less important for being necessarily incomplete. Whatever its failings, "the old insular home-feeling" helped to produce a sense of mutual obligations, of "moral economy," to borrow the phrase Edward Thompson retrieved from an old tradition. 2

Cosmopolitanism today partly resumes its own old tradition. Cosmopolitan ideals flourished as calls for unity among ancient Greek city-states, though in fact city-states were often at war. Rome was more cosmopolitan if less philosophical than Greece. Cosmopolitanism has been a project of empires, of long-distance trade, and of cities. Christianity offered a cosmopolitan [End Page 871] framework to medieval Europe, though it equally informed a noncosmopolitan rejection of those it deemed heretics and heathen. The Ottoman Empire offered a high point of cosmopolitanism, and European empires their own often less tolerant versions. But the cosmopolitanism of church and empire depended on the distinction of merchants and clerics from rulers. It is thus an innovation to see cosmopolitanism as a political project and especially to speak of "cosmopolitan democracy." The tolerance of diversity in great imperial and trading cities has always reflected, among other things, precisely the absence of need or opportunity to organize political self-rule.

A new cosmopolitanism flourished in the Enlightenment. This flourishing once again involved relative elites without a responsibility for ruling. It did nonetheless influence rulers, not least by encouraging a courtly cosmopolitanism in the later years of the ancient regime. There were also cosmopolitan links among democrats and other insurgents, and these contributed to the ideals of the late-eighteenth-century public sphere. Nationalism and cosmopolitanism met in certain strands of the American and French Revolutions and linked to democracy in figures like Thomas Paine. But eighteenth-century cosmopolitanism, especially its elite variants, was hostile to religion, and in opposing reason to prejudice often imagined a collective life free of traditional loyalties rather than incorporating them in heterogeneous form. Philosophical cosmopolitans of the Enlightenment imagined a world reflecting their lives and intellectual projects. During the same period, though, European colonial projects were becoming increasingly important. They informed the development of both nationalism and cosmopolitanism, the view of both home and away. While some nineteenth-century thinkers embraced cosmopolitanism as an urban aesthetic ideal, others, like Thomas Carlyle, were ambivalent about cosmopolitanism. They worried that it was somehow an "attenuated" solidarity by comparison to those rooted in more specific local cultures and communities.

Today's cosmopolitans need to confront the same concerns. Many rightly point to the limits and dangers of relying on nation-states to secure democracy in a world that is ever-more-dramatically organized across state borders. Yet they—we—imagine the world from the vantage point of frequent travelers, easily entering and exiting polities and social relations around the world, armed with visa-friendly passports and credit cards. For such frequent travelers cosmopolitanism has considerable rhetorical advantage. It [End Page 872] seems hard not to want to be a "citizen of the world." Certainly, at least in Western academic circles, it is hard to imagine preferring to be known as parochial. But what does it mean to be a "citizen of the world"? Through what institutions is this "citizenship" effectively expressed? Is it mediated through various particular, more local solidarities? Does it present a new, expanded category of identification as better than older, narrower ones (as the nation has frequently been opposed to the province or village), or does it pursue better relations among a diverse range of traditions and communities? How does this citizenship contend with global capitalism and with noncosmopolitan dimensions of globalization?

A thoroughgoing cosmopolitanism might indeed bring concern for the fate of all humanity to the fore, but a more attenuated cosmopolitanism is likely to leave us lacking the old sources of solidarity without adequate new ones. Much cosmopolitanism focuses on the development of world government or at least global political institutions. These, advocates argue, must be strengthened if democracy is to have much future in a world where nation-states are challenged by global capitalism, cross-border flows, and international media and accordingly less able to manage collective affairs. 3 At the same time, these advocates see growing domestic heterogeneity and newly divisive subnational politics as reducing the efficacy of nation-states from within. While most embrace diversity as a basic value, they simultaneously see multiculturalism as a political problem. In the dominant cosmopolitan theories, it is the global advance of democracy that receives the most attention and in which most hopes are vested. But cosmopolitanism without the strengthening of local democracy is likely to be a very elite affair. And advances in global democracy are challenged by fragmented solidarities at both intermediate and local levels.

Cosmopolitanism is often presented simply as global citizenship. Advocates offer a claim to being without determinate social bases that is reminiscent of Mannheim's idea of the free-floating intellectual. In offering a seeming "view from nowhere," cosmopolitans commonly offer a view from Brussels (where the postnational is identified with the strength of the European Union rather than the weakness of, say, African states), or from Davos (where the postnational is corporate), or from the university (where the illusion of a free-floating intelligentsia is supported by relatively fluid exchange of ideas across national borders).

Cosmopolitanism is a discourse centered in a Western view of the world. 4 [End Page 873] It sets itself up commonly as a "Third Way" between rampant corporate globalization and reactionary traditionalism or nationalism. If Giddens's account of the Third Way is most familiar, the trope is still more widespread. Benjamin Barber's notion of a path beyond "Jihad vs. McWorld" is an example brought to renewed prominence (and the best-seller lists) following the September 11 attacks. 5 Such oppositions oversimplify at best, though, and often get in the way of actually achieving some of the goals of cosmopolitan democracy. In the first place, they reflect a problematic denigration of tradition, including ethnicity and religion. This can be misleading in even a sheer factual sense—as, for example, in Barber's depiction of Islamism as the reaction of small and relatively homogeneous countries to capitalist globalization. The oppositions are also prejudicial. Note, for example, the tendency to treat the West as the site of both capitalist globalization and cosmopolitanism, but to approach the non-West through the category of tradition. More generally, cultural identities and communal solidarities are treated less as creative constructions forged amid globalization than as inheritances from an older order. They should be available to people, much cosmopolitan thought implies, as lifestyle choices. As Timothy Brennan puts it, cosmopolitanism "designates an enthusiasm for customary differences, but as ethical or aesthetic material for a unified polychromatic culture—a new singularity born of a blending and merging of multiple local constituents." 6 This vision of unity amid difference echoes on a grander scale that of great empires and great religions, and it underwrites the cosmopolitan appeal for all-encompassing world government. 7

Cosmopolitanism also reflects an elite perspective on the world. Certainly few academic theories escape this charge, but it is especially problematic when the object of theory is the potential for democracy. The top ranks of capitalist corporations provide exemplars of a certain form of cosmopolitanism, though not of democracy. Likewise, a large proportion of global civil society—from the World Bank to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) setting accountancy standards—exists to support capitalism not pursue democracy. Even the ideas of cosmopolitan democracy and humanitarian activism, however, reflect an awareness of the world that is made possible by the proliferation of NGOs working to solve environmental and humanitarian problems, and by the growth of media attention to those problems. These are important—indeed vital—concerns. Nonetheless, the concerns, the media, and the NGOs need to be grasped reflexively as the basis for an intellectual perspective. It is a perspective, for example, that makes nationalism [End Page 874] appear one-sidedly negative. This is determined first perhaps by the prominence of ethnonationalist violence in recent humanitarian crises, but also by the tensions between states and international NGOs. It is also shaped by specifically European visions and projects of transnationalism. Nationalism looks different from, say, an African vantage point. And it is often the weakness of states that seems the most pressing problem, even when tyrants control those relatively weak states.

The cosmopolitan ideals of global civil society can sound uncomfortably like those of the civilizing mission behind colonialism, especially when presented as a program from the outside borne by global NGOs rather than an opportunity for local development. In this connection, we should recall how recent, temporary, and ever incomplete the apparent autonomy and closure of nation is. In Europe, the invocation of nation may sound conservative and traditional (though it was not always so). Looked at from the standpoint of India, say, or Ethiopia, it is not at all clear whether nation belongs on the side of tradition or developing cosmopolitanism. Or is it perhaps distinct from both—a novel form of solidarity and a basis for political claims on the state, one that presumes and to some extent demands performance of internal unity and external boundedness?

The very idea of democracy suggests that it cannot be imposed from above, simply as a matter of rational plan. Democracy must grow out of the life-world; it must empower people not in the abstract but in the actual conditions of their lives. This means to empower them within communities and traditions, not in spite of them, and as members of groups, not only as individuals. This does not mean accepting old definitions of all groups; there may be struggle over how groups are constituted. For example, appeals to aboriginal rights need not negate the possibility of struggle within "traditional" groups over such issues as gender bias in leadership. 8 Cosmopolitan democracy—refusing the unity of simple sameness and the tyranny of the majority—must demand attention to differences—of values, perceptions, interests, and understandings.

Yet it is important that we recognize that legitimacy is not the same as motivation. We need to pay attention to the social contexts in which people are moved by commitments to each other. Cosmopolitanism that does so will be variously articulated with locality, community, and tradition, not simply a matter of common denominators. It will depend to a very large extent on local and particularistic border crossings and pluralisms, not universalism. [End Page 875]

Such cosmopolitanism would both challenge the abandonment of globalization to neoliberalism (whether with enthusiasm or a sense of helpless pessimism) and question the impulse to respond simply by defending nations or communities that experience globalization as a threat. Nonetheless, the power of states and global corporations and the systemic imperatives of global markets suggest that advancing democracy will require struggle—not only struggle against states or corporations, but also within them to determine the way they work as institutions, how they distribute benefits, what kinds of participation they invite. The struggle for democracy, accordingly, cannot be only a cosmopolitan struggle from social locations that transcend these domains; it must be also a local struggle within them. It would be a mistake to imagine that cosmopolitan ethics—universally applied—could somehow substitute for a multiplicity of political, economic, and cultural struggles. Indeed, the very struggle may be an occasion and source for solidarity.

Contemporary cosmopolitanism is the latest effort to revitalize liberalism. 9 It has much to recommend it. Aside from world peace and more diverse ethnic restaurants, there is the promise to attend to one of the great lacunae of more traditional liberalism. This is the assumption of nationality as the basis for membership in states, even though this implies a seemingly illiberal reliance on inheritance and ascription rather than choice, and an exclusiveness hard to justify on liberal terms.

Political theory has surprisingly often avoided addressing the problems of political belonging in a serious, analytic way by presuming that nations exist as the prepolitical bases of state-level politics. I do not mean that political theorists are nationalists in their political preferences, but rather that their way of framing analytic problems is shaped by the rhetoric of nationalism and the ways in which this has become basic to the modern social imaginary. 10 "Let us imagine a society," theoretical deliberations characteristically begin, "and then consider what form of government would be just for it." Nationalism provides this singular and bounded notion of society with its intuitive meaning.

Even so, Kantian, methodologically individualistic, and generally nonnationalist a theorist as John Rawls exemplifies the standard procedure, seeking in A Theory of Justice to understand what kind of society individuals behind the veil of ignorance would choose—but presuming that they would imagine this society on the model of a nation-state. Rawls modifies his arguments [End Page 876] in considering international affairs in Political Liberalism and The Law of Peoples, but continues to assume something like an idealized nation-state as the natural form of society. As he writes,

We have assumed that a democratic society, like any political society, is to be viewed as a complete and closed social system. It is complete in that it is self-sufficient and has a place for all the main purposes of human life. It is also closed, in that entry into it is only by birth and exit from it is only by death. 11

Rawls is aware of migration, war, and global media, of course, even while he rules them out of theory and even though it is striking how little he considers the globalization of economic foundations for his imagined society. For Rawls, questions of international justice seem to be just as that phrase and much diplomatic practice implies: questions "between peoples," each of which should be understood as unitary. Note also the absence of attention to local or other constituent communities within this conception of society. Individuals and the whole society have a kind of primacy over any other possible groupings. This is the logic of nationalism. 12

This is precisely what cosmopolitanism contests—at least at its best—and rightly so. Indeed, one of the reasons given for the very term is that it is less likely than "international" to be confused with exclusively intergovernmental relations. 13 Advocates of cosmopolitanism argue that people belong to a range of polities of which nation-states are only one, and that the range of significant relationships formed across state borders is growing. Their goal is to extend citizenship rights and responsibilities to the full range of associations thus created. In David Held's words,

People would come, thus, to enjoy multiple citizenships—political membership in the diverse political communities which significantly affected them. They would be citizens of their immediate political communities, and of the wider regional and global networks which impacted upon their lives. 14

Though it is unclear how this might work out in practice, this challenge to the presumption of nationality as the basis for citizenship is one of the most important contributions of cosmopolitanism (and cosmopolitanism is strongest when it takes this seriously, weakest when it recommends the leap to a more centralized world government). [End Page 877]

The cosmopolitan tension with the assumption of nation as the prepolitical basis for citizenship is domestic as well as international. As Jürgen Habermas puts it,

The nation-state owes its historical success to the fact that it substituted relations of solidarity between the citizens for the disintegrating corporative ties of early modern society. But this republican achievement is endangered when, conversely, the integrative force of the nation of citizens is traced back to the prepolitical fact of a quasi-natural people, that is, to something independent of and prior to the political opinion- and will-formation of the citizens themselves. 15

But pause here and notice the temporal order implied in this passage. First there were local communities, guilds, religious bodies, and other "corporative bonds." Then there was republican citizenship with its emphasis on the civic identity of each citizen. Then this was undermined by ethnonationalism. What this misses is the extent to which each of these ways of organizing social life existed simultaneously with the others, sometimes in struggle and sometimes symbiotically. New "corporative ties" have been created, for example, notably in the labor movement and in religious communities. Conversely, there was no "pure republican" moment when ideas of nationality did not inform the image of the republic and the constitution of its boundaries.

As Habermas goes on, however, "the question arises of whether there exists a functional equivalent for the fusion of the nation of citizens with the ethnic nation." 16 We need not accept his idealized history or entire theoretical framework to see that this raises a basic issue. That is, for polities not constructed as ethnic nations, what makes membership compelling? This is a question for the European Union, certainly, but also arguably for the United States itself, and for most projects of cosmopolitan citizenship. Democracy requires a sense of mutual commitment among citizens that goes beyond mere legal classification, holding a passport, or even respect for particular institutions. As Charles Taylor has argued forcefully, "self-governing societies" have need "of a high degree of cohesion." 17

Cosmopolitanism needs an account of how social solidarity and public discourse might develop enough in these wider networks to become the basis for active citizenship. So far, most versions of cosmopolitan theory share with traditional liberalism a thin conception of social life, commitment, [End Page 878] and belonging. They imagine society—and issues of social belonging and social participation—in too thin and casual a manner. The result is a theory that suffers from an inadequate sociological foundation. Communitarianism is more sociological in inspiration, but often suffers from an inverse error, a tendency to elide the differences between local networks of social relationships and broad categories of belonging like nations.

The cosmopolitan image of multiple, layered citizenship can helpfully challenge the tendency of many communitarians to suggest not only that community is necessary and/or good, but that people normally inhabit one and only one community. 18 It also points to the possibility—so far not realized—of a rapprochement between cosmopolitanism and communitarianism. As Richard Bellamy and Dario Castiglione write, hoping to bridge the opposition between cosmopolitanism and communitarianism, "a pure cosmopolitanism cannot generate the full range of obligations its advocates generally wish to ascribe to it. For the proper acknowledgment of ‘thin' basic rights rests on their being specified and overlaid by a ‘thicker' web of special obligations." 19 They would strengthen Held's suggestion that persons inhabit not only rights and obligations, but also relationships and commitments within and across groups of all sorts including the nation.

More often, however, cosmopolitans have treated communitarianism as an enemy, or at least used it as a foil. 20 Despite this, advocates of cosmopolitan democracy find themselves falling back on notions of "peoples" as though these exist naturally and prepolitically. They appeal, for example, for the representation of peoples—not only states—in various global projects including an eventual world parliament. 21 This representation poses deeper problems than is commonly realized. Not only is the definition of people problematic, the idea of representation is extremely complex. Representing peoples has been one of the primary functions of modern states—however great the problems with how they do it. Advocates for "peoples" represent them in the media and claim to represent them even in terrorist action. But it is the legal and political procedures of states and the relatively cohesive public spheres associated with them that provide effective checks on unstated claims to represent others and tie mediatic images to concrete policy choices. Absent state-like forms of explicit self-governance, it is not clear how the representation of peoples escapes arbitrariness.

Cosmopolitan democracy requires not only a stronger account of representation, but also a stronger account of social solidarity and the formation [End Page 879] and transformation of social groups. If one of its virtues is challenging the idea that nationality (or ethnic or other identities understood as analogous to nationality) provides people with an unambiguous and singular collective membership, one of its faults is to conceptualize the alternative too abstractly and vaguely. Another is to underestimate the positive side of nationalism, the virtues of identification with a larger whole. This identification can indeed be oppressive and antidemocratic. But it can also be the source of mutual commitment and solidarity underpinning democracy and uniting people across a range of differences. Moreover, whatever its limits, the nation-state has proved more open to democratization than religions or some other kinds of large groupings.

In cosmopolitanism as in much other political theory and democratic thought generally, there is a tendency to assume that social groups are created in some prepolitical process—as nations, for example, ethnicities, religions, or local communities. They reflect historical accident, inheritance, and necessity. They result perhaps from the accumulation of unintended consequences of purposive action, but they are not in themselves chosen. Surely, though, this is not always so.

The social solidarity that makes social commitments compelling is indeed shaped by forms of integration, like markets, that link people systemically, by force of necessity, or as it were "behind their backs." It is also shaped by material power, as, for example, modern economic life is a matter not only of markets but also of corporations and state regulation. Clearly, it is informed by shared culture and by categorical identities like race, ethnicity, class, and nation. And crucially it is built out of networks of directly interpersonal social relations, such as those basic to local community. The last already suggests the importance of choice: community is not just inherited, it is made and remade—and interpersonal relationships are also basic to social movements. More generally, though, we should recognize the importance of public discourse as a source of social solidarity, mutual commitment, and shared interest. Neither individuals nor social groups are fully or finally formed in advance of public discourse. People's identities and understandings of the world are changed by participation in public discourse. Groups are created not just found, and the forms of group life are at least potentially open to choice. 22

Public discourse is not simply a matter of finding preexisting common interests, in short, nor of developing strategies for acting on inherited identities; it is also in and of itself a form of solidarity. The women's movement [End Page 880] offers a prominent example; it transformed identities, it did not just express the interests of women whose identities were set in advance. It created both an arena of discourse among women and a stronger voice for women in discourses that were male dominated (even when they were ostensibly gender neutral). The solidarity formed among women had to do with the capacity of this discourse meaningfully to bridge concerns of private life and large-scale institutions and culture. We can also see the inverse, the extent to which this gendered production of solidarity is changed as feminist public discourse is replaced by mass marketing to women and the production of feminism's successor as a gendered consumer identity in which liberation is reduced to freedom to purchase.

In short, there are a variety of ways in which people are joined to each other, within and across the boundaries of states and other polities. Theorists of cosmopolitan democracy are right to stress the multiplicity of connections. But we need to complement the liberal idea of rights with a stronger sense of what binds people to one another. One of the peculiarities of nation-states has been the extent to which they were able to combine elements of each of these different sorts of solidarity. They did not do so perfectly, of course. Markets flowed over their borders from the beginning, and some states were weak containers of either economic organization or power. Not all states had a populace with a strong national identity, or pursued policies able to shape a common identity among citizens. Indeed, those that repressed public discourse suffered a particular liability to fissure along the lines of ethnicity or older national identities weakly amalgamated into the new whole; the Soviet Union is a notable case. Conversely, though, the opportunity to participate in a public sphere and seek to influence the state was an important source of solidarity within it.

Actually existing international civil society includes some level of each of the different forms of solidarity I listed. In very few cases, however, are these joined strongly to each other at a transnational level. There is community among the expatriate staffs of NGOs; there is public discourse on the Internet. But few of the categorical identities that express people's sense of themselves are matched to strong organizations of either power or community at a transnational level. What this means is that international civil society offers a weak counterweight to systemic integration and power. If hopes for cosmopolitan democracy are to be realized, they depend on developing more social solidarity.

As I have emphasized, such solidarity can be at least partially chosen [End Page 881] through collective participation in the public sphere. It is unlikely, however, that solidarity can be entirely a matter of choice. This is the import of Habermas's question about whether the nation of citizens can fully replace the ethnic nation. It is a problem to rely heavily on a purely political conception of human beings. Such a conception has two weak points. First, it does not attend enough to all the ways in which solidarity is achieved outside of political organization, and does not adequately appreciate the bearing of these networks on questions of political legitimacy. Second, it does not consider the extent to which high political ideals founder on the shoals of everyday needs and desires—including quite legitimate ones. The ideal of civil society has sometimes been expressed in recent years as though it should refer to a constant mobilization of all of us all the time in various sorts of voluntary organizations. 23 But in fact one of the things people quite reasonably want from a good political order is to be left alone some of the time—to enjoy a nonpolitical life in civil society. In something of the same sense, Oscar Wilde famously said of socialism that it requires too many evenings. We could say of cosmopolitanism that it requires too much travel, too many dinners out at ethnic restaurants, too much volunteering with Médecins Sans Frontières. Perhaps not too much or too many for academics (though I wouldn't leap to that presumption) but too much and too many to base a political order on the expectation that everyone will choose to participate—even if they acknowledge that they ought to.

A good political order must deal fairly with the fact that most people will not be politically active most of the time. That actually existing politics turn many people off only makes the issue more acute. But for cosmopolitan democracy, scale is the biggest issue. Participation rates are low in local and national politics; there is good reason to think that the very scale of the global ecumene will make participation in it even narrower and more a province of elites than participation in national politics. Not only does Michels' law of oligarchy apply, if perhaps not with the iron force he imagined, but the capacities to engage cosmopolitan politics—from literacy to computer literacy to familiarity with the range of acronyms—are apt to continue to be unevenly distributed. Indeed, there are less commonly noted but significant inequalities directly tied to locality. Within almost any social movement or activist NGO, as one moves from the local to the national and global in either public actions or levels of internal organization one sees a reduction in women's participation. Largely because so much labor of social reproduction [End Page 882] —childcare, for instance—is carried out by women, women find it harder to work outside of their localities. This is true even for social movements in which women predominate at the local level. 24

* * *

Contemporary cosmopolitan theory is attentive to the diversity of people's social engagements and connections. But this cosmopolitanism is also rooted in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century rationalism with its ethical universalism. 25 Modern cosmopolitanism took shape largely in opposition to traditional religion and more generally to deeply rooted political identities. Against the force of universal reason, the claims of traditional culture and communities were deemed to have little standing. These were at best particularistic, local understandings that grasped universal truths only inaccurately and partially. At worst, they were outright errors, the darkness that Enlightenment challenged. Certainly, the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century wars of faith seemed to cry out for universalistic reason and a cosmopolitan outlook. Yet, nationalism was as important a result as cosmopolitanism, and the two developed often hand in hand. Religion sometimes divided nations, but nations also provided a secular framework for achieving unity across religious lines.

Early modern rationalism was also rich with contractarian metaphors and embedded in the social imaginary of a nascent commercial culture. It approached social life on the basis of a protoutilitarian calculus, an idea of individual interests as the basis of judgment, and a search for the one right solution. Its emphasis on individual autonomy, whatever its other merits, was deployed with a blind eye to the differences and distortions of private property. The claims of community appeared often as hindrances on individuals. They were justified mainly when community was abstracted to the level of nation, and the wealth of nations made the focus of political as well as economic attention. Much of this heritage has been absorbed into contemporary liberalism, including the political theory of cosmopolitan democracy.

Like the earlier vision of cosmopolis, the current one responds to international conflict and crisis. It offers an attractive sense of shared responsibility for developing a better society and transcending both the interests and intolerances that have often lain behind war and other crimes against humanity. However, this appears primarily in the guise of ethical obligation, [End Page 883] an account of what would be good actions and how institutions and loyalties ought to be rearranged. Connection is seldom established to any idea of political action rooted in immanent contradictions of the social order. From the liberal rationalist tradition, contemporary cosmopolitanism also inherits suspicion of religion and rooted traditions; a powerful language of rights that is also sometimes a blinder against recognition of the embeddedness of individuals in culture and social relations; and an opposition of reason and rights to community. This last has appeared in various guises through three hundred years of contrast between allegedly inherited and constraining local community life, on the one hand, and the ostensibly freely chosen social relationships of modern cities, markets, associational life, and more generally cosmopolis, on the other.

Confronting similar concerns in the mid-twentieth century, Theodor Adorno wrote,

An emancipated society . . . would not be a unitary state, but the realization of universality in the reconciliation of differences. Politics that are still seriously concerned with such a society ought not, therefore, propound the abstract equality of men even as an idea. Instead, they should point to the bad equality today . . . and conceive the better state as one in which people could be different without fear. 26

This is very inadequately achieved at the level of the nation-state, to be sure, but it seems harder, not easier, to develop in a global polity. Indeed, the projection of nationality to a global scale is a major motivation behind repression of difference. This is not to say that cultural and social differences provoke no conflict in villages or urban neighborhoods. They do, but face-to-face relations also provide for important forms of mediation. Ethnic violence in cities and villages commonly reflects organized enmity on a larger scale rather than being its basis.

The tension between abstract accounts of equality and rooted accounts of difference has been renewed in the recent professional quarrels between liberal and communitarian political theorists. For the most part, cosmopolitans model political life on a fairly abstract, liberal notion of person as a bearer of rights and obligations. 27 This is readily addressed in rationalist and indeed proceduralist terms. And however widely challenged in recent years, rationalism retains at least in intellectual circles a certain presumptive superiority. It is easy to paint communitarian claims for the importance [End Page 884] of particular cultures as irrational, arbitrary, and only a shade less relativist than the worst sort of postmodernism. 28 But immanent struggle for a better world always builds on particular social and cultural bases. 29 Moreover, rationalist universalism is liable not only to shift into the mode of "pure ought" but to approach human diversity as an inherited obstacle rather than as a resource or a basic result of creativity.

Entering this quarrel on the liberal side, but with care for diversity, Held suggests that national communities cease to be treated as primary political communities. He does not go so far as some and claim that they should (or naturally will) cease to exist, but rather imagines them as one sort of relevant unit of political organization among many. What he favors is a cosmopolitan democratic community:

A community of all democratic communities must become an obligation for democrats, an obligation to build a transnational, common structure of political action which alone, ultimately, can support the politics of self-determination. 30

In such a cosmopolitan community, "people would come . . . to enjoy multiple citizenships—political membership in the diverse political communities which significantly affected them." 31 Sovereignty would then be "stripped away from the idea of fixed borders and territories and thought of as, in principle, malleable time-space clusters. . . . it could be entrenched and drawn upon in diverse self-regulating associations, from cities to states to corporations." 32 Indeed, so strong is Held's commitment to the notion that there are a variety of kinds of associations within which people might exercise their democratic rights that he imagines "the formation of an authoritative assembly of all democratic states and agencies, a reformed General Assembly of the United Nations . . ." with its operating rules to be worked out in "an international constitutional convention involving states, IGOs, NGOs, citizen groups and social movements." 33 The deep question is whether this all-embracing unity comes at the expense of cultural particularity—a reduction to liberal individualism—or provides the best hope of sustaining particular achievements and openings for creativity in the face of neoliberal capitalism.

Various crises of the nation-state set the stage for the revitalization of cosmopolitanism. The crises were occasioned by the acceleration of global economic restructuring in the 1990s, new transnational communications [End Page 885] media, new flows of migrants, and proliferation of civil wars and humanitarian crises in the wake of the cold war. The last could no longer be comprehended in terms of the cold war, which is one reason why they often appeared in the language of ethnicity and nationalism. Among their many implications, these crises all challenged liberalism's established understandings of (or perhaps willful blind spot toward) the issues of political membership and sovereignty. They presented several problems simultaneously: Why should the benefits of membership in any one polity not be available to all people? On what bases might some polities legitimately intervene in the affairs of others? What standing should organizations have that operate across borders without being the agents of any single state (this problem, I might add, applies as much to business corporations as to NGOs and social movements) and conversely how might states appropriately regulate them?

Enter cosmopolitanism. Borders should be abandoned as much as possible and left porous where they must be maintained. Intervention on behalf of human rights is good. NGOs and transnational social movements offer models for the future of the world. These are not bad ideas, but they are limited ideas.

The current enthusiasm for global citizenship and cosmopolitanism reflects not just a sense of its inherent moral worth but also the challenge of an increasingly global capitalism. It is perhaps no accident that the first cited usage under cosmopolitan in the Oxford English Dictionary comes from John Stuart Mill's Political Economy in 1848: "Capital is becoming more and more cosmopolitan." 34 Cosmopolitan, after all, means "belonging to all parts of the world; not restricted to any one country or its inhabitants." As the quotation from Mill reminds us, the latest wave of globalization was not required to demonstrate that capital fit this bill. Indeed, Marx and Engels wrote in the Communist Manifesto,

The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. . . . All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. . . . In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and [End Page 886] narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature. 35

This is progress, of a sort, but not an altogether happy story. "The bourgeoisie," Marx and Engels go on, "by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilisation. . . . It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image." 36

It is not clear that these new commonalties are necessarily a basis for harmony, though, and Marx and Engels stressed the contradictions within capitalism and the inevitable clashes among capitalist powers.

The rise of the modern capitalist world system was not simply a progress of cosmopolitanism. It marked a historical turn against empire, and capitalist globalization has been married to the dominance of nation-states in politics. 37 Capitalist cosmopolitans have indeed traversed the globe, from early modern merchants to today's World Bank officials and venture capitalists. They have forged relations that cross the borders of nation-states. But they have also relied on states and a global order of states to maintain property rights and other conditions of production and trade. Their passports bear stamps of many countries, but they are still passports and good cosmopolitans know which ones get them past inspectors at borders and airports.

Not least of all, capitalist cosmopolitanism has offered only a weak defense against reactionary nationalism. This was clearly déclassé so far as most cosmopolitans were concerned. But Berlin in the 1930s was a very cosmopolitan city. If having cosmopolitan elites were a guarantee of respect for civil or human rights, then Hitler would never have ruled Germany, Chile would have been spared Pinochet, and neither the Guomindang nor the Communists would have come to power in China. Cosmopolitanism is not responsible for empire or capitalism or fascism or communism, but neither is it an adequate defense.

Even while the internal homogeneity of national cultures was being promoted by linguistic and educational standardization (among other means), the great imperial and trading cities stood as centers of diversity. Enjoying [End Page 887] this diversity was one of the marks of the sophisticated modern urbanite by contrast to the "traditional" hick. To be a cosmopolitan was to be comfortable in heterogeneous public space. 38 Richard Sennett cites (and builds on) a French usage of 1738: "A cosmopolite . . . is a man who moves comfortably in diversity; he is comfortable in situations which have no links or parallels to what is familiar to him." Yet there is a tendency for commercial capitalism and political liberalism to tame this diversity. While cities can be places of creative disorder, jumbling together ethnicities, classes, and political projects, most people claim only familiar parts of the diversity on offer. The difference between a willingness to enter situations truly without parallels or familiarity and a willingness to experience diversity as packaged for consumer tastes is noteworthy. While Sennett's strong sense of cosmopolitanism calls for confrontation with deep and necessarily contentious differences between ways of life, there is a tendency for a soft cosmopolitanism to emerge. Aided by the frequent-flyer lounges (and their extensions in "international standard" hotels), contemporary cosmopolitans meet others of different backgrounds in spaces that retain familiarity.

The notion of cosmopolitanism gains currency from the flourishing of multiculturalism—and the opposition of those who consider themselves multiculturally modern feel to those rooted in monocultural traditions. The latter, say the former, are locals with limited perspective, if not outright racists. It is easier to sneer at the far right, but too much claiming of ethnic solidarity by minorities also falls afoul of some advocates of cosmopolitanism. It is no accident either that the case against Salman Rushdie began to be formulated among diasporic Asians in Britain or that cosmopoliticians are notably ambivalent toward them. Integrationist white liberals in the United States are similarly unsure what to make of what some of them see as "reverse racism" on the part of blacks striving to maintain local communities. Debates over English as a common language reveal related ambivalence toward Hispanics and others. It is important for cosmopolitan theorists to recognize, though, that societies outside the modern West have by no means always been "monocultural." On the contrary, it is the development of the European nation-state that most pressed for this version of unity. And it is often the insertion of migrants from around the world into the Western nation-state system that produces intense "reverse monoculturalism," including both the notion that the culture "back home" is singular and unified and pure and sometimes the attempt by political leaders on the [End Page 888] homefront to make it so. Such projects may be simply reactionary, but even when proclaimed in the name of ancient religions, they often pursue alternative modernities. An effectively democratic future must allow for such different collective projects—as they must allow for each other. It must be built in a world in which these are powerful and find starting points within them; it cannot be conceptualized adequately simply in terms of diversity of individuals.

This complexity is easy to miss if one's access to cultural diversity is organized mainly by the conventions of headline news or the packaging of ethnicity for consumer markets. In the world's global cities, and even in a good many of its small towns, certain forms of cosmopolitan diversity appear ubiquitous. Certainly Chinese food is now a global cuisine—both in a generic form that exists especially as a global cuisine and in more "authentic" regional versions prepared for more cultivated global palates. And one can buy Kentucky Fried Chicken in Beijing. Local taste cultures that were once more closed and insular have indeed opened up. Samosas are now English food just as pizza is American and Indonesian curry is Dutch. Even where the hint of the exotic (and the uniformity of the local) is stronger, one can eat internationally—Mexican food in Norway, Ethiopian in Italy. This is not all "McDonaldization" and it is not to be decried in the name of cultural survival. Nonetheless, it tells us little about whether to expect democracy on a global scale, successful accommodation of immigrants at home, or respect for human rights across the board. Food, tourism, music, literature, and clothes are all easy faces of cosmopolitanism. They are indeed broadening, literally after a fashion, but they are not hard tests for the relationship between local solidarity and international civil society.

Despite the spread of consumerist cosmopolitanism, too many states still wage war or take on projects like ethnic cleansing that an international public might constrain or at least condemn. Profit, moreover, is pursued not only in "above board" trading and global manufacturing, but in transnational flows of people, weapons, and drugs. The "legitimate" and "illegitimate" sides of global economic life are never fully separable—as is shown, for example, by the role of both recorded and unrecorded financial transfers in paving the way for the September 11 attacks. The cosmopolitan project speaks to these concerns, suggesting the need not only for multilateral regulatory agreements but for new institutions operating as more than the sum—or net outcome—of the political agendas of member states. It may be [End Page 889] that "legitimate" businesses have an interest in such institutions and that this will help to compensate for their weak capacity to enforce agreements. Trying to secure some level of democratic participation for such transnational institutions will remain a challenge, though, for reasons suggested in this essay. So too will avoiding a predominantly technocratic orientation to global governance projects. Not least, there will be important tensions between liberal cosmopolitan visions that exempt property relations from democratic control and more radical ones that do not. If this is not addressed directly, it is easy for the rhetoric of cosmopolitanism—and indeed cosmopolitan democracy—to be adopted by and become a support for neoliberal visions of global capitalism.

Cosmopolitanism—though not necessarily cosmopolitan democracy—is now largely the project of capitalism, and it flourishes in the top management of multinational corporations and even more in the consulting firms that serve them. Such cosmopolitanism often joins elites across national borders while ordinary people live in local communities. This is not simply because common folk are less sympathetic to diversity—a self-serving notion of elites. It is also because the class structuring of public life excludes many workers and others. This is not an entirely new story. One of the striking changes of the nineteenth and especially twentieth centuries was a displacement of cosmopolitanism from cities to international travel and mass media. International travel, moreover, meant something different to those who traveled for business or diplomacy and those who served in armies fighting wars to expand or control the cosmopolis. If diplomacy was war by other means, it was also war by other classes who paid less dearly for it.

Deep inequalities in the political economy of capitalism (as earlier of empire) mean that some people labor to support others whose pursuit of global relations focuses on acquisition and accumulation. Cosmopolitanism does not in itself speak to these systemic inequalities, any more than did the rights of the bourgeois man that Marx criticized in the 1840s. If there is to be a major redistribution of wealth, or a challenge to the way the means of production are controlled in global capitalism, it is not likely to be guided by cosmopolitanism as such. Of course, it may well depend on transnational—even cosmopolitan—solidarities among workers or other groups. But it will have to contend both with capitalism's economic power and its powerful embeddedness in the institutional framework of global relations. [End Page 890]

The affinity of cosmopolitanism to rationalist liberal individualism has blinded many cosmopolitans to some of the destructions neoliberalism—the cosmopolitanism of capital—has wrought and the damage it portends to hard-won social achievements. Pierre Bourdieu has rightly called attention to the enormous investment of struggle that has made possible relatively autonomous social fields—higher education, for example, or science—and at least partial rights of open access to them. 39 Such fields are organized largely on national bases, at present, though they include transnational linkages and could become far more global. This might be aided by the "new internationalism" (especially of intellectuals) that Bourdieu proposes in opposition to the globalization of neoliberal capitalism. The latter imposes a reduction to market forces that undermines both the specific values and autonomy of distinctive fields—including higher education and science—and many rights won from nation-states by workers and others. In this context, defense of existing institutions including parts of national states is not merely reactionary. Yet it is commonly presented this way, and cosmopolitan discourse too easily encourages the equation of the global with the modern and the national or local with the backwardly traditional.

Neoliberalism presents one international agenda simply as a force of necessity to which all people, organizations, and states have no choice but to adapt. Much of the specific form of integration of the European Union, for example, has been sold as the necessary and indeed all but inevitable response to global competition. This obscures the reality that transnational relations might be built in a variety of ways, and indeed that the shifting forces bringing globalization can also be made the objects of collective choice. Likewise, existing national and local institutions are not mere inheritances from tradition but—at least sometimes—hard-won achievements of social struggles. To defend such institutions is not always backward.

The global power of capitalism, among other factors, makes the creation of cosmopolitan institutions seem crucial. But it would be a mistake for this to be pursued in opposition to more local solidarities or without adequate distinction from capitalism. Appeals to abstract human rights in themselves speak to neither—or at least not adequately as currently pursued. Building cosmopolitanism solely on such a discourse of individual rights—without strong attention to diverse solidarities and struggles for a more just and democratic social order—also runs the risk of substituting ethics for politics. [End Page 891] An effective popular politics must find roots in solitary social groups and networks of ties among them.

The current pursuit of cosmopolitan democracy flies in the face of a long history in which cosmopolitan sensibilities thrived in market cities, imperial capitals, and court society while democracy was tied to the nation-state. Cosmopolitanism flourished in Ottoman Istanbul and old-regime Paris partly because in neither were members of different cultures and communities invited to organize government together. It was precisely when democracy became a popular passion and a political project that nationalism flourished. Democracy depends on strong notions of who "the people" behind phrases like "we the people" might be, and who might make legitimate the performative declarations of constitution-making and the less verbal performances of revolution. 40

One way of looking at modern history is as a race in which popular forces and solidarities are always running behind. It is a race to achieve social integration, to structure the connections among people and organize the world. Capital is out in front. Workers and ordinary citizens are always in the position of trying to catch up. As they get organized on local levels, capital and power integrate on larger scales. States come close to catching up, but the integration of nation-states is an ambivalent step. On the one hand, state power is a force in its own right—not least in colonialism—and represents a flow of organizing capacity away from local communities. On the other hand, democracy at a national level constitutes the greatest success that ordinary people have had in catching up to capital and power. Because markets and corporations increasingly transcend states, there is new catching up to do. This is why cosmopolitan democracy is appealing.

Yet, as practical projects in the world (and sometimes even as theory) cosmopolitanism and democracy have both been intertwined with capitalism and Western hegemony. If cosmopolitan democracy is to flourish and be fully open to human beings of diverse circumstances and identities, then it needs to disentangle itself from neoliberal capitalism. It needs to approach both crosscultural relations and the construction of social solidarities with deeper recognition of the significance of diverse starting points and potential outcomes. It needs more discursive engagement across lines of difference, more commitment to reduction of material inequality, and more openness to radical change. Like many liberals of the past, advocates of cosmopolitan democracy often offer a vision of political reform attractive to [End Page 892] elites partly because it promises to find virtue without radical redistribution of wealth or power. This is all the more uncomfortable for the left in the advanced capitalist countries because those advocating more radical change typically challenge Western culture and values—including much of liberalism—as well as global inequality.

The answer clearly does not lie with embracing illiberal nationalisms or "fundamentalisms." These may be voices of the oppressed without being voices for good. But not all nationalism is ugly ethnonationalism; not all religion is fundamentalism. Both can be sources of solidarity and care for strangers as well as xenophobia or persecution of heretics. They are also in conflict with each other as often as they are joined together. But if cosmopolitan democracy is to be more than a good ethical orientation for those privileged to inhabit the frequent-flyer lounges, it must put down roots in the solidarities that organize most people's sense of identity and location in the world. To appeal simply to liberal individualism—even with respect for diversity—is to disempower those who lack substantial personal or organizational resources. It is also disingenuous, if would-be cosmopolitans don't recognize the extent to which cosmopolitan appreciation of global diversity is based on privileges of wealth and perhaps especially citizenship in certain states. Cosmopolitan democracy depends on finding ways to relate diverse solidarities to each other rather than trying to overcome them.

This is surely a matter of robust public communication in which ordinary people can gain more capacity to shape both the societies within which they live and the global forces that shape the options open to them. But it is important to recognize that relations across meaningful groups are not simply matters of rational-critical discourse but involve the creation of local hybrid cultures, accommodations, collaborations, and practical knowledge. Equally, it is important to see that attenuated cosmopolitanism won't ground mutual commitment and responsibility. Not only tolerance but solidarity is required for people to live together and join in democratic self-governance.

Still, feeling at home can't be enough an adequate basis for life in modern global society. Exclusive localism is neither empowering nor even really possible, however nostalgic for it people may feel. Cosmopolitanism by itself may not be enough; a soft cosmopolitanism that doesn't challenge capitalism or Western hegemony may be an ideological diversion; but some form of cosmopolitanism is needed. [End Page 893]


Craig Calhoun is president of the Social Science Research Council and professor of sociology and history at New York University. His research focuses especially on problems of social solidarity and popular democracy. His book, The Public Sphere, is forthcoming (2003).


Earlier versions of this essay were presented at the conference "The Future of Cosmopolitanism" at the University of Warwick, April 2000; to the International Studies Association in February 2001; to the University of North Carolina "Conference on Local Democracy and Globalization" in March 2001; and at Candido Mendes University in May 2001. I am grateful for comments on all these occasions and especially from Pamela DeLargy, Saurabh Dube, Michael Kennedy, Laura MacDonald, Thomas McCarthy, and Kathryn Sikkink.

1. For a good analysis, see Mary Kaldor, "Beyond Militarism, Arms Races and Arms Control," in Craig Calhoun, Paul Price, and Ashley Timmer, Understanding September 11 (New York: New Press, 2002).

2. E. P. Thompson, "The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century," Past and Present 50 (1971): 76–136.

3. See David Held, Democracy and the Global Order (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995); Cosmopolitan Democracy: An Agenda for a New World Order, ed. Daniele Archibugi and David Held (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995); Re-Imagining Political Community: Studies in Cosmopolitan Democracy, ed. Daniele Archibugi, David Held, and Martin Khler (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998). Held, Archibugi, and their colleagues conceptualize democratic cosmopolitan politics as a matter of several layers of participation in discourse and decision-making, including especially the strengthening of institutions of global civil society, rather than an international politics dominated by nation-states. Less layered and complex accounts appear in Richard Falk's call for global governance and Martha Nussbaum's universalism. See Richard Falk, Human Rights Horizons: The Pursuit of Justice in a Globalizing World (New York: Routledge, 2000); and Martha Nussbaum, Cultivating Humanity (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998).

4. One is reminded of Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad's account of human rights as the new Christianity. It makes Europeans feel entitled, he suggested, to invade countries around the world and try to subvert their traditional values, convert them, and subjugate them. Mahathir was of course defending an often abusive government as well as local culture, but a deeper question is raised.

5. "Jihad and McWorld operate with equal strength in opposite directions, the one driven by parochial hatreds, the other by universalizing markets, the one re-creating ancient subnational and ethnic borders from within, the other making war on national borders from without. Yet Jihad and McWorld have this in common: they both make war on the sovereign nation-state and thus undermine the nation-state's democratic institutions" (Benjamin Barber, Jihad vs. McWorld [New York: Times Books, 1995], 6). David Held similarly opposes "traditional" and "global" in positioning cosmopolitanism between the two (opening remarks to the University of Warwick conference, "The Future of Cosmopolitanism").

6. Timothy Brennan, "Cosmopolitanism and Internationalism," New Left Review, no. 7 (January–February 2001): 75–85; quotation from 76. Arguing against Archibugi's account of the nation-state, Brennan rightly notes the intrinsic importance of imperialism, although he ascribes rather more complete causal power to it than history warrants.

7. The call for world government is more important to some cosmopolitans—notably Richard Falk—than others. See, for example, Falk, Human Rights Horizons. [End Page 894]

8. This is a central issue in debates over group rights. See, for example, Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).

9. Liberalism of course embraces a wide spectrum of views in which emphases may fall more on property rights or more on democracy. So too cosmopolitanism can imply a global view that is liberal, not specifically democratic. Archibugi prefers cosmopolitics to cosmopolitan in order to signal just this departure from a more general image of liberal global unity. See Daniele Archibugi, "Cosmopolitical Democracy," New Left Review, no. 4 (July–August 2000): 137–50.

10. On the predominance of nationalist understandings in conceptions of society, see Calhoun, "Nationalism, Political Community, and the Representation of Society: Or, Why Feeling at Home Is Not a Substitute for Public Space," European Journal of Social Theory 2 (1999): 217–31.

11. John Rawls, Political Liberalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), 41.

12. See Craig Calhoun, Nationalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997).

13. Daniele Archibugi, "Principles of Cosmopolitan Democracy," in Archibugi, Held, and Khler, Re-Imagining Political Community, 198–228; quotation from 216.

14. Held, Democracy and the Global Order, 233. Held's book remains the most systematic and sustained effort to develop a theory of cosmopolitan democracy.

15. Jürgen Habermas, The Inclusion of the Other, ed. Ciaran Cronin and Pablo De Greiff (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998), 115.

16. Ibid., 117. Note that Habermas tends to equate nation with ethnic nation.

17. Charles Taylor, "Modern Social Imaginaries," Public Culture (February 2002): 1.

18. It is this last tendency that invites liberal rationalists occasionally to ascribe to communitarians and advocates of local culture complicity in all manner of illiberal political projects from restrictions on immigration to excessive celebration of ethnic minorities to economic protectionism. I have discussed this critically in Calhoun, "Nationalism, Political Community, and the Representation of Society."

19. Richard Bellamy and Dario Castiglione, "Between Cosmopolis and Community," in Archibugi, Held, and Khler, Re-Imagining Political Community, 152–78.

20. See, for example, Janna Thompson, "Community Identity and World Citizenship," in Archibugi, Held, and Khler, Re-Imagining Political Community, 179–97.

21. Archibugi, "Cosmopolitical Democracy," 146.

22. I have developed this argument about public discourse as a form of or basis for solidarity and its significance for transnational politics further in Craig Calhoun, "Constitutional Patriotism and the Public Sphere: Interests, Identity, and Solidarity in the Integration of Europe," in Global Ethics and Transnational Politics, ed. Pablo De Greiff and Ciaran Cronin (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002), 275–312.

23. This hyper-Tocquevillianism appears famously in Robert Putnam, Bowling Alone (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000), but has in fact been central to discussions since at least the 1980s, including prominently Robert Bellah, Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Ann Swidler, and Steven M. Tipton, Habits of the Heart (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984). The embrace of a notion of civil society as centrally composed of a "voluntary sector" complementing a capitalist market economy has of course informed public policy from America's first Bush administration with its "thousand points of light" forward. [End Page 895] Among other features, this approach neglects the notion of a political public sphere as an institutional framework of civil society; see Jürgen Habermas, Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989). It grants a high level of autonomy to markets and economic actors; it is notable for the absence of political economy from its theoretical bases and analyses. As one result, it introduces a sharp separation among market, government, and voluntary association (nonprofit) activity that obscures the question of how social movements may challenge economic institutions, and how the public sphere may mobilize government to shape economic practices.

24. On how global NGOs actually work, see Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998).

25. See Stephen Toulmin's analysis of the seventeenth-century roots of the modern liberal rationalist worldview in Stephen Toulmin, Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity (New York: Free Press, 1990). As Toulmin notes, the rationalism of Descartes and Newton may be tempered with more attention to sixteenth-century forebears. From Erasmus, Montaigne, and others we may garner an alternative but still humane and even humanist approach emphasizing wisdom that included a sense of the limits of rationalism and a more positive grasp of human passions and attachments.

26. Theodor W. Adorno, Minima Moralia (London: New Left Books, 1974), 103.

27. Amartya Sen, Development As Freedom (New York: Knopf, 2000), lays out an account of "capacities" as an alternative to the discourse of rights. This is also adopted by Martha Nussbaum in her most recent cosmopolitan arguments in Martha Nussbaum, Women and Human Development (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). While this shifts emphases in some useful ways (notably from "negative" to "positive" liberties in Isaiah Berlin's terms), it does not offer a substantially "thicker" conception of the person or the social nature of human life. Some cosmopolitan theorists, notably David Held, also take care to acknowledge that people inhabit social relations as well as rights and obligations.

28. See, for example, Jürgen Habermas, "Struggles for Recognition in the Democratic Constitutional State," Habermas's surprisingly sharp-toned response to Charles Taylor, "The Politics of Recognition," both in Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, ed. Amy Gutman (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994); or Janna Thompson's distorting examination of "communitarian" arguments, Janna Thompson, "Community Identity, and World Citizenship," in Archibugi, Held, and Khler, Re-Imagining Political Community, 179–97.

29. This has been an important theme in the work of Ashis Nandy. See, among many, Ashis Nandy, Exiled at Home (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), and Ashis Nandy, Traditions, Tyranny, and Utopias (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993).

30. Held, Democracy and the Global Order, 232.

31. Ibid., 233.

32. Ibid., 234.

33. Ibid., 273–74.

34. This point is also made by Bruce Robbins in his Secular Vocations: Intellectuals, Professionalism, Culture (London: Verso Books, 1993), 182. See also Bruce Robbins, "The Village of the Liberal Managerial Class," in Cosmopolitan Geographies: New Locations in Literature and Culture, ed. Vinay Dharwadker (New York: Routledge, 2001), 15–32. [End Page 896] \

35. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, in Collected Works (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1976), 477–519; quotation from 488.

36. Marx and Engels, remarkable as their insight is, were fallible observers. Not much later in the Communist Manifesto, they reported that modern subjection to capital had already stripped workers of "every trace of national character" (ibid., 494).

37. This is a central point of Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World-System, vol. 1 (New York: Academic Press, 1974).

38. Richard Sennett, The Fall of Public Man (New York: Knopf, 1977), 17.

39. See the essays in Pierre Bourdieu, Acts of Resistance (New York: New Press, 1999), and Pierre Bourdieu, Contre-feux 2 (Paris: Raisons d'agir, 2001).

40. See Charles Taylor, "Modern Social Imaginaries," Public Culture 14 (2001): 1.

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