Cosmopolitanism as Hospitality: Revisiting Identity and Difference in Cosmopolitanism
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For many cosmopolitans, an emergent global civil society is reframing the relationship between the universal and particular in world politics in ways that do justice to both. This article disputes this claim, finding that the concept of global civil society shares the same fundamental problem as state sovereignty, namely that it is better at articulating global identity than difference because it reproduces in different form statist attempts to describe a universal structure of particularity. It then argues that to avoid reducing difference to identity while remaining true to the cosmopolitan impulse to ethical universality, that is, to recognition of moral obligations to foreigners, it is necessary to take cosmopolitanism as synonymous with an ethics of hospitality enabling a nondialectical account of identity and difference in cosmopolitanism. As Derrida affirms, hospitality deconstructs the binary of identity and difference in our ethical relations with strangers. This dialectic-defying quality of cosmopolitanism-as-hospitality requires a greater decisionism than dialectical liberal-cosmopolitanism, turning cosmopolitanism away from the pure ethics of its liberal variants and transforming it into an ethicopolitics.
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