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Accepted Paper:

Redrawing the boundaries of belonging: prospects of cosmopolitanism in the twenty-first century  
Hanna Werner (Max Weber Centre, University of Erfurt)

Paper short abstract:

Given the challenges it faces in today's viral world, this paper interrogates the prospects of cosmopolitan conviction from a multi-sited perspective. To what extent and under what conditions can a cosmopolitan and/or transnational outlook be a cogent source of critique?

Paper long abstract:

The way we think about and perform 'the political' has changed significantly in the twenty-first century, leading to new forms of nationalism and provincialism worldwide. Posing a great challenge to theories and practices of cosmopolitanism and transnationalism, concepts of belonging based on clearly demarcated national (usually framed as cultural) allegiances are (re)gaining ground - as governmental strategies, but also, and above all, reflected in popular imaginaries.

The pandemic has accelerated this trend in many ways. Yet, while the restrictions it brought led to the closure of - actual and imaginary - borders on the one hand, it has called for the creative use and expansion of the remaining space on the other.

Referencing case examples from environmental mobilizations in Europe and South Asia, this paper examines regional variations in the use of (trans)national/cultural notions of belonging as political resource. It attempts to answer three interrelated questions: First, can a cosmopolitan mindset be a cogent resource of critique in face of nationalist and/or populist endeavors? Second, are the two mutually exclusive in any case, or what is the relationship between the national and the transnational in certain contexts? And third, how does the negotiation between the cosmopolitan and 'local' forms of belonging take shape? The aim is to explore regional remnants and prospects of a critique that draws on cosmopolitan ideals, with particular attention to the use of new media and forms of expression necessitated by the pandemic.

Panel P127a
The Reconfiguration of the Cosmopolitan: 'Being Transnational' in Viral Times
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -