Situated Cosmopolitanisms: notions of the Other in contemporary discourses on cosmopolitanism in Britain and Germany

PhD Thesis

Vieten, Ulrike 2007. Situated Cosmopolitanisms: notions of the Other in contemporary discourses on cosmopolitanism in Britain and Germany. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Social Science, Media and Cultural Studies
AuthorsVieten, Ulrike
TypePhD Thesis

The thesis proposes to understand contemporary discourses on cosmopolitanism in Britain and Germany as situated outlooks influenced by specific national cultures and nation
state histories. These discourses are also embedded in the transition of the current nation state order that is driven by global capitalism and new forms of social and legal
integration. Within Europe, the legal integration project of the European Union has to be regarded as at the core of these contemporary discourses.

While situating discourses of cosmopolitanism historically, the thesis traces back dominant discourses of commercial (Britain) and cultural (Germany) cosmopolitanism that influence contemporary national outlooks of British (David Held, Chantal Mouffe and Homi K. Bhabha) and German voices Qiirgen Habermas, Ulrich Beck and Hanna Behrend). The main argument is that those discourses are framed by historical
pathways, particular memories and national horizons situated differently in various countries, but also situated differently regarding the social locations of concrete intellectuals engaging in these discourses. Thus, the analysis of the different authors' writings pursues a double aim. On the one hand, it explores to what degree national discourses are situated as hegemonic public communicative sphere historically; on the other, it reveals
how specific voices are situated individually within the larger discourse, thereby unearthing their contribution to confirming or challenging a hegemonic discourse. Most
significantly, the Utopian vision of a cosmopolitan 'opening' that evolved during the 1990s shifted to a hegemonic ideological discourse of European 'closure' after 9/11 2001.

The analysis reveals the appearance of a discourse of European cosmopolitanism conveying cultural Europeanisation. Apparently, this discourse neglects the problematic legacy of a distinction that was typical for the German discourse of the late 19 th and lasting until the mid of the 20th century, i.e. the distinction between the world citizen (Weltbürger)and the cosmopolitan (Koswopolit). The former had a positive connotation of mobility whereas the latter was used as an anti-Semitic signifier for Jews as unwanted 'wanderers'. The contemporary discourse conveys still biased meanings of 'mobility' and 'migration' being decisive for e.g. the notion of EU citizenship as die privileging frame of
free movement constructing new insides and outsides of populations.

KeywordsContemporary discourses; European cosmopolitanism; Cosmopolitanism in Britain and Germany
Publication dates
PrintAug 2007
Publication process dates
Deposited16 Jan 2014
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