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The Cosmopolitan Society and its Enemies Ulrich Beck I N THIS article I want to discuss three questions: (1) What is a cosmo- politan sociology? (2) What is a cosmopolitan society? (3) Who are the enemies of cosmopolitan societies? What is a Cosmopolitan Sociology? Let me start by attempting to nail a pudding to the wall, that is, defining the key terms ‘globalization’ and ‘cosmopolitanization’. At the beginning of the 21st century the conditio humana cannot be understood nationally or locally but only globally. ‘Globalization’ is a non-linear, dialectic process in which the global and the local do not exist as cultural polarities but as combined and mutually implicating principles. These processes involve not only interconnections across boundaries, but transform the quality of the social and the political inside nation-state societies. This is what I define as ‘cosmopolitanization’: cosmopolitanization means internal globalization, globalization from within the national societies. This transforms everyday consciousness and identities significantly. Issues of global concern are becoming part of the everyday local experiences and the ‘moral life-worlds’ of the people. They introduce significant conflicts all over the world. To treat these profound ontological changes simply as myth relies on a superficial and unhistorical understanding of ‘globalization’, the misunderstandings of neoliberal globalism . The study of globalization and globality, cosmopoli- tanization and cosmopolitanism constitutes a revolution in the social sciences (Beck, 2000a, 2002a; Cheah and Robbins, 1998; Gilroy, 1993; Shaw, 2000; Therborn, 2000; Urry, 2000). Of course, the new interest in cosmopolitanism has been critically associated with those elite Western individuals who were the fullest expres- sion of European bourgeois capitalism and colonial empires. But we need n 2002 (SAGE, London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi), Vol. 19(1–2): 17–44 [0263-2764(200204)19:1–2;17–44;023244]
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to identify, as Paul Rabinow argues, a (self-)critical cosmopolitanism , which combines ‘an ethos of macro-independencies with an acute consciousness . . . of the inescapabilities and particularities of places, characters, historical trajectories and fate’ (1996: 56) The study of cosmopolitanization must not be confused with wishful thinking primarily concerned with pro- jecting the cosmopolitan intentions of the scholar. There is no necessary connection between the study of the hidden cosmopolitanization of nation- state societies and the rise of the ‘cosmopolitan subject’, even if some cultural theorists appear to believe there is. To me the ‘cosmopolitanization thesis’ is a methodological concept which helps to overcome methodological nationalism and to build a frame of reference to analyse the new social conflicts, dynamics and structures of Second Modernity (Beck, 2002c; Beck et al., 2002; Lash, 2002; Latour, 2002). The central defining characteristic of a cosmopolitan perspective is
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This note was uploaded on 05/01/2010 for the course SOA 101 taught by Professor Klein during the Spring '08 term at Northeastern.

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