Cosmopolitanism as Transformative Experience: Towards a New Social Ethic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


My aim in this chapter is to make a case for a more serious commitment to cosmopolitanism, not as an abstract idea(l) or linked in any way to a hegemonic elitist culture, but as a social ethic. I argue that secular and religious ethics are no longer the appropriate pillars for social relations at a macro level – nor are nationalism or neo-liberal globalism. Instead, we must commit to a post-universalist cosmopolitanism that offers a framework for critical discourse as well as concrete strategies for daily living. I attempt to operationalise my argument through what I call ‘every-day flexible transformation’. That is, a cosmopolitan social ethic requires individuals to think very differently about ‘self’ and ‘other’, recognising that they are ‘woven’ from the same social fabric and ‘traverse’ together in the infinite social unfolding. It thus requires them to be open to and continually have ‘experiences of otherness’, even fleeting ones, as a given part of their daily living, signalling a new type of public consciousness that is more apt for the contemporary/future world. My argument implicates ideas of education – formal and informal – as paramount in conceiving of and implementing the sort of cosmopolitan discourses, practices and policies needed to ensure a safer, more inclusive future. Particularly at the level of national secondary education, one of the immediate contributions of the education system ought to be to develop and deliver a curriculum for critical secular studies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducation and Extremisms
Subtitle of host publicationRe-Thinking Liberal Pedagogies in the Contemporary World
EditorsFarid Panjwani, Lynn Revell, Reza Gholami, Mike Diboll
ISBN (Electronic)978-1315303116
ISBN (Print)978-1138236110
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Cosmopolitanism as Transformative Experience: Towards a New Social Ethic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this