Not all is lost in translation: world varieties of cosmopolitanism

Delanty, Gerard (2014) Not all is lost in translation: world varieties of cosmopolitanism. Cultural Sociology, 8 (4). pp. 374-391. ISSN 1749-9755

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Of the many challenging issues facing cosmopolitan thought today a major one is the problem of conceptual and cultural translation since it is often the case that cosmopolitanism is highly relevant to developments in Indian and Chinese thought, even though the term itself is not used in the sources or in the interpretations. Indeed, the actual use of the term may itself disguise more relevant applications if acceptable forms of conceptual and cultural translation can be found. There is also the question of which register of meaning should be privileged, western explanatory concepts or non-western concepts or whether it is possible to find an alternative language. This methodological challenge is central to the concern of this paper. Three problems are addressed, namely universalist versus contextualist positions, Eurocentrism, and the problem of conceptual and cultural translations between western and non-western thought. The central argument is that cosmopolitanism thought needs to expand beyond its western genealogy to include other world traditions. However the solution is not simply to identify alternative cultural traditions to western ones and which might be the carrier of different kinds of cosmopolitan values, but of identifying in these different cultural traditions resources for cosmopolitics. In this way critical cosmopolitanism seeks to find an alternative both to strong contextualist as well as strong universalist positions. The upshot of this reasoning is that all world varieties of cosmopolitanism reflect different aspects of the cosmopolitan imagination which cannot be reduced to any one tradition.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0621 Culture
Depositing User: Gerard Delanty
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2014 09:35
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2017 08:47

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