Recently I ran across this website called Eurozine and was intrigued by, among other things, a special “In Focus” section they had on their home page called Cultural Citizenship. Now, the articles on this site are not a brief, easy read. Sometimes, personally, they feel overblown, like when I see sentences such as “Radical pluralism rejected the somewhat conservative premises of the liberal communitarian controversy, and advocated a more transformative view of citizenship that was also more deeply embedded in ideas of radical democracy.”

And when I saw that one of the articles was subtitled “Thoughts in Connection to Hegel”, I visibly winced. I had no problem with Hobbes, or Nietzsche, or Foucault, but the Philosophy of Right nearly destroyed me….twice. It’s not my morning coffee reading, but I think there are interesting conversations in here waiting to be dug out and examined. If you have the patience to pick through these articles, it looks like many are worth the read. And as I work my way through them, I’ll try to post the better, more easily digestible tidbits, like this…

From an article by Per Wirtén entitled “Free the Nation – Cosmopolitanism Now!

In time, cosmopolitans became a derogatory synonym for Jews, communists, anarchists, pacifists and anybody else who refused to accept demands for ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious homogeneity made in the name of the nation state. The cold war not only effectively divided the world, but also saw to it that cosmopolitan principles were relegated to the level of private daydreaming. Following the downfall of the Berlin Wall however, these perspectives have returned to the international debate…

Please keep reading…good stuff at the end…

Here’s another interesting tidbit from later on that gives you an idea of where this article is headed:

The governments of Western Europe have chosen a path of least resistance to defend themselves against the onslaught of right wing nationalism: stronger borders, tougher police supervision as well as increased emphasis on national and cultural homogeneity. The cosmopolitan tradition has emphasised the connections between race-philosophy, nationalism and the nation – state making up this negative spiral for decades. Bearing this in mind, Europe has to regard the EU and immigration as a chance to liberate itself from the heritage of nationalism and from now on let the politics of the public sphere take the place of nation, race and ethnicity.

But the author then also goes on to recognize critiques of cosmopolitanism, like the danger of, for example, “tendencies of global cultural homogenisation and commercialisation in the name of the major multinational corporations.”

I particularly liked this line, though, describing the ideas of a certain Ghanain philosopher who thinks that

A cosmopolitan patriot must therefore feel a moral and political responsibility that extends beyond the own nation or the own homeland…[that] “we need not treat people from other cultures in a civilized manner in spite of our differences, but we can meet them in a human and civilized way through our differences”

I really like that sentiment. I think it’s write-it-on-a-post-it-and-stick-it-on-the-wall quality. Nifty.

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