n South African Journal of Higher Education - Cosmopolitanism and education : learning to talk back : editorial

Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



The concept of cosmopolitanism along with globalisation has become one of the buzz words of our time. For some, like Martha Nussbaum (1996), cosmopolitanism signifies an attitude of enlightened morality that places love of humanity ('citizens of the world') ahead of patriotism towards one's country. You are a cosmopolitan on the grounds of the compassion and care you exhibit as an individual towards all other human beings irrespective of race, culture, tradition and religious orientation. For others, like Jeremy Waldron (1995), cosmopolitanism signifies hybridity, fluidity and recognising the fractures and identities of human selves and citizens, whose complex aspirations cannot be circumscribed by national fantasies and primordial communities. For a third group of thinkers, like Jürgen Habermas (1998) and Seyla Benhabib (2006), whose linkages are those of critical theory, cosmopolitanism is a normative philosophy for carrying the universalistic norms of discourse ethics beyond the confines of the nation-state.

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