Five Configurations of Aesthetico-Cultural Cosmopolitanism
We find in this chapter 5 configurations of aesthetico-cultural cosmopolitanism situated along a continuum of possibilities, where no “pure” forms can serve as a measurement standard; in fact, the various combinations, degrees, and levels of cosmopolitanism that are observed may be reversible, since they are shaped equally by real aesthetic experiences and symbolic relationships with the world, its objects, and cultural representations. A number of studies have suggested that a refined relationship to culture can, more or less implicitly, produce a standard of preference for the exotic and faraway, accompanied by effects of rarity and difference: the high value placed on cultural eclecticism thus becoming a new form of legitimate culture. Could aesthetico-cultural cosmopolitanism merely be reproducing the mechanisms of cultural distinction employed by certain social classes in the past, and thus, reinstate the dominance of a new globalized elite, the big winners of the global competition? The very large majority of young people who exhibit some configuration of aesthetico-cultural cosmopolitanism reveals that, on the contrary, far from being reserved for an elite, this sociological trend more closely resembles a new generational standard of good taste. This does not, however, preclude the existence of strong social variation between configurations.