The Challenge of Culture in Cosmopolitanism



In this chapter, employing Jeremy Waldron’s conception of cosmopolitanism, we argue that forms of cosmopolitanism that are preconditioned on the exclusion of culture in the configuration of universalism cannot achieve the cosmopolitan aspirations of equality. Human beings are enmeshed in culture though the notion of culture is usually under contestation. Individuals are usually unconscious of the entrenched role of culture in their routines of everyday life such that even the most radically liberal individuals and societies cannot successfully decouple their lives from the influence of culture. The chapter borrows from Waldron’s position that generally all cultures have a cosmopolitan dimension since living everyday life involves endeavours of learning from other cultures and unlearning received attitudes and practices and values. Everyday life for every culture also involves seeking convincing justificatory reasons for practices and attitudes one has by virtue of being a member of one group.


Cosmopolitanism Exclusion Culture Universalism Equality Contestation Liberal Learning Unlearning Reasons 


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.School of EducationUniversity of MalawiZombaMalawi
  3. 3.Department of AccountingUniversity of the Western CapeBellvilleSouth Africa
  4. 4.Centre for Innovative Learning TechnologyCape Peninsula University of TechnologyCape TownSouth Africa
  5. 5.Faculty of EducationCape Peninsula University of TechnologyMowbraySouth Africa

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