A new cosmopolitanism is in the air
Sociologist Ulrich Beck presents seven theses to combat the global power of capital
The nationalist perspective - which equates society with the society of the nation state - blinds us to the world in which we live. In order to perceive the interrelatedness of people and of populations around the globe in the first place, we need a cosmopolitan perspective. The common terminological denominator of our densely populated world is "cosmopolitanisation", which means the erosion of distinct boundaries dividing markets, states, civilizations, cultures, and not least of all the lifeworlds of different peoples. The world has not certainly not become borderless, but the boundaries are becoming blurred and indistinct, becoming permeable to flows of information and capital. Less so, on the other hand, to flows of people: tourists yes, migrants no. Taking place in national and local lifeworlds and institutions is a process of internal globalisation. This alters the conditions for the construction of social identity, which need no longer be impressed by the negative juxtaposition of "us" and "them".
For me, it is important that cosmopolitanisation does not occur somewhere in abstraction or on a global scale, somewhere above people's heads, but that it takes place in the everyday lives of individuals ("mundane cosmopolitanisation"). The same is true for the internal operations of politics, which have become global on all levels, even that of domestic politics, because they must take account of the global dimension of mutual interdependencies, flows, networks, threats, and so on ("global domestic politics"). We must ask, for example: How does our understanding of power and control become altered from a cosmopolitan perspective? By way of an answer, I offer seven theses.
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