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We the Cosmopolitans: Moral and Existential Conditions of Being Human

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We the Cosmopolitans

Moral and Existential Conditions of Being Human

Edited by Lisette Josephides and Alexandra Hall

194 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-276-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (March 2014)

eISBN 978-1-78238-277-5 eBook

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“Taken together, the contributions advance especially discussions about rooted cosmopolitanism respectively vernacular cosmopolitanism…Beyond cosmopolitanism proper the book has a lot to say about shared moralities. Throughout this volume all contributions explicitly or implicitly address the question of universal attributes of human cultures, a traditional but usually neglected topic in current cultural anthropology. The book is well-crafted and well-edited and comes with a systematic and wonderfully detailed index.” · Anthropos

“[This volume] enriches interdisciplinary debates about hitherto neglected aspects of contemporary cosmopolitanism as a political and moral project, examining the form of its lived effects and offering new ideas and case studies to work with…[It is] a collection of seminal essays that are as informed and thoughtful as they are iconoclastic examples of meticulous and seminal scholarship replete with illustrative case examples. Of special note are Lisette Josephides' Introduction' and Alexandra Hall's 'Conclusion'. [This volume] is a strongly recommended contribution to academic library Philosophy and Cultural Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists.” · Midwest Book Review

“This is an important intervention in several ways. It adds to the growing momentum behind cosmopolitanism as an anthropological and interdisciplinary theme and it gives us new ideas and case studies to work with. More importantly, though, from the point of view of debate, this book is forcefully challenging a number of taken for granted notions in anthropology.” · Huon Wardle, University of St. Andrews


The provocative title of this book is deliberately and challengingly universalist, matching the theoretically experimental essays, where contributors try different ideas to answer distinct concerns regarding cosmopolitanism. Leading anthropologists explore what cosmopolitanism means in the context of everyday life, variously viewing it as an aspect of kindness and empathy, as tolerance, hospitality and openness, and as a defining feature of pan-human individuality. The chapters thus advance an existential critique of abstract globalization discourse. The book enriches interdisciplinary debates about hitherto neglected aspects of contemporary cosmopolitanism as a political and moral project, examining the form of its lived effects and offering new ideas and case studies to work with.

Lisette Josephides is Professor of Anthropology at Queen’s University Belfast, having taught in Papua New Guinea, at the LSE, and at the University of Minnesota. Two major books on her PNG fieldwork, The Production of Inequality and Melanesian Odysseys, trace the development of her interests from politics to theories of the self and moral philosophy. She is Associate Editor of Social Analysis, member of the International Advisory Group of Nordic Network for Philosophical Anthropology, and Fellow of the Centre for Cosmopolitan Studies at St. Andrews.

Alexandra Hall is Lecturer in Politics at the University of York. She has a background in anthropology and her research interests include the international securitization of mobility and contemporary border politics in the West. She has conducted research into the everyday production and experience of security within immigration detention, and the rise of “smart” e-border targeting systems in the UK and Europe. Her ethnography of an immigration removal centre, Borderwatch: Cultures of Immigration, Detention and Control, was published by Pluto Press in 2012.

Subject: Anthropology (General)



Introduction: We the Cosmopolitans: Framing the Debate
Lisette Josephides

Chapter 1. Citizens of Everything: The Aporetics of Cosmopolitanism
Ronald Stade

Chapter 2. The Capacities of Anyone: Accommodating the Universal Human Subject as Value and in Space
Nigel Rapport

Chapter 3. Cosmopolitan Morality in the British Immigration and Asylum System
Alexandra Hall

Chapter 4. Experiences of Pain: A Gateway to Cosmopolitan Subjectivity?
Anne Sigfrid Gronseth

Chapter 5. Cosmopolitanism as Welcoming the Other/Imperilling the Self: Ethics and Early Encounters between Lyons Missionaries and West African Rulers Prior to Colonial Rule
Marc Schiltz

Chapter 6. The Cartoon Controversy and the Possibility of Cosmopolitanism
Thomas Hylland Eriksen

Alexandra Hall

Notes on contributors

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