Cosmopolitanism in Modernity

Cosmopolitanism in Modernity : Human Dignity in a Global Age

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At the close of the twentieth century, cosmopolitanism emerged as an important source of ideas for approaching the current challenges and opportunities of the intensifying global interconnections and socioeconomic disparities within and across borders. Anand Bertrand Commissiong analyzes the contributions of theorists seeking cosmopolitan solutions to struggles for human happiness and dignity. He focuses on the ways in which the ideal has been forced to adapt, by accepting its limitations, as it maintains its fundamental insistence on the potential of universal human community that simultaneously constitutively encompasses difference. He examines a combination of strategies specifically addressing individual, communal and intercommunal levels of human interaction that he argues are the most productive ways forward. Commissiong recommends non-imperialist, accountable, coalitional strategies that set the stage for a different understanding of human beings in our contemporary globalizing world by offering a broad approach that can form coalitions with ideals beyond Western traditions, such as satyagraha, in order to conceive of dynamic human individuality and community that stretches beyond local boundaries. Commissiong makes a powerful argument for a new type of cosmopolitanism that is vital to the establishment of a truly just human existence at institutional, communal, and individual levels.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 246 pages
  • 149.86 x 223.52 x 20.32mm | 385.55g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0739165402
  • 9780739165409

About Anand Bertrand Commissiong

Anand Bertrand Commissiong is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at West Texas A&M University.show more

Review quote

Anand Commissiong provides an insightful and erudite discussion of a crucial topic for all progressive thinkers and activists. All of us will surely benefit from this impressive book. -- Stephen Eric Bronner, Rutgers University Locating itself in the broadest reading of the history of political thought, this fine book makes an argument for "cosmopolitan virtue" as the foundation of a political theory cognizant of the unity between the particular and the universal in lived experience. Commissiong (West Texas A&M Univ.) offers this position as an alternative to both of today's dominant conceptions (and practices) of the "good life:" exclusionary fundamentalism and unfettered market neoliberalism. This book is to be commended for two main reasons. First, it offers an erudite, rigorous examination of the literature on cosmopolitanism (especially the work of Martha Nussbaum, Jurgen Habermas, and David Held), which has enjoyed a revival in the last ten or so years. Second, it enriches this debate by probing into its connections not only with the dominant accounts of political life, but also with important critics of these such as Antonio Hardt and Michael Negri. This strategy allows Commissiong to go beyond the more abstract positions of the cosmopolitans to provide an account capable of informing political activists and concerned citizens. The result is an erudite, very readable book that offers a substantially new point of departure for normative discussion and political practice. Summing Up: Highly recommended. CHOICEshow more

Table of contents

Introduction Local and Global: Notes from Recent US Elections "the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world" The Market Mind-set and the Faith in the Market Cosmopolitan Ideas in Modernity Issues of Definition Part 1: Ancient and Modern Sources and Contexts 1 Ancient and Modern Cosmopolitanisms Ancient and Early Modern Cosmopolitanisms Modern and Contemporary Contexts A Survey of the Varieties of Cosmopolitanism in Modernity Moral and Political Cosmopolitanism 2 The Rise of Economic Individualism and the Development of the Commercial Community A Crisis of Conscience: The Crumbling Sacred Canopy and the Changing Sources of Authority Globalization: The Sheltering Market The Heart of Empire Cosmopolitanism vs. Globalization: The Responsibilities of Freedom Part 2: Contemporary Cosmopolitanisms 3 Martha Nussbaum and the Individual at the Center: Liberties and Capabilities, Theory and Practice Theory: Stoic Theories of Reason, Association, and Moral Development Practice: Action and Conflicting Duties The Capabilities Approach Universal Values and the Primacy of the Individual 4 Jurgen Habermas and the Individual in Community: Freedom and Responsibility in the Nation-State "Perpetual Peace": Kant's Cosmopolitan Idea Reconsidered The Rule of Law and Popular Sovereignty in Modern Democracy Habermas's Linguistic Turn Globalization and the Post-National Constellation Habermas: A Critical Appraisal 5 David Held: Freedom and Accountability Beyond the Nation-State The Interstate System and Modern Democracy The Nation-State: Its Uses and Abuses International Accountability and Enforcement National and International Public Spheres Transnational Public Spheres and Transnational Solidarity Part 3: Restating the Case 6 Cosmopolitan Virtues for a Modern World Fracturing of the Fatal Circle(s) Heterogeneity and Solidarity 7 Cosmopolitanism Law The New New World Order: Unfinished Business Cosmopolitanism and the Left: The Theory and Practice of Cosmopolitan Law Stoic Cosmopolitanism Today 8 Conclusion: Our Futures, Together The One and the Universal Our Post-National Futures, Unavoidably Side by Side Bibliographyshow more

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