Cosmopolitanism in situ: challenges for ethnography

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Cosmopolitanism in situ: challenges for ethnography

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Publication Other
Title Cosmopolitanism in situ: challenges for ethnography
Author(s) Povrzanovic Frykman, Maja
Date 2010
Editor(s) Pernarčič, Radharani; Klaus, Simona; Lipovec Čebron, Uršula
English abstract
In the current globe-spanning processes of neo-liberal restructuring, several smaller scale cities across Europe appear as ‘aspiring cosmopolitan cities’: adopting a discourse of cosmopolitanism is currently ‘in’ as a mode of self-representation. A belief in a self-fulfilling prophecy seems to spread, of claiming to be, and therefore becoming, vibrant, open, multicultural and, none the least, cosmopolitan. In this context, migrants living in the city – even if occupying lower or totally marginal socio-economic positions – become “good” for the city’s image. Their presence adds to the visual diversity deemed normal for the so-called global cities. The languages the migrants use in their homes, and their personal connections to faraway places, are highlighted as a proof of the city’s multiple connectedness and openness, promising cultural and economic rewards. What are the actual roles of the migrants living in such cities? What exactly are the connections between the ways any people living in a city do boundary work in everyday life across national and structural contexts, and the normative agenda that has been named ‘cosmopolitan’? The burgeoning academic literature on cosmopolitanism offers a lot of theoretical considerations of ‘cosmopolitan imagination’, and a number of inventive notions such as ‘vernacular’, ‘banal’, ‘ordinary’, ‘marginal’, ‘unreflexive’, or ‘actually-existing’ cosmopolitanism. However, it is poor in empirical-analytical accounts and hardly offers any guidelines for ethnographic research. This paper aims at launching a discussion of ethnographic indicators of the what, where and when of cosmopolitanism as a cluster of phenomena grounded in people’s practices and in places of their everyday interactions, that is not reduced to transnational movements and cultural diversity. If we want to tackle lived experiences, material aspects and social-relational dimensions of cosmopolitanism in situ, micro-ethnographic approach is a needed as a basis of a theoretical and methodological framework that would allow innovative comparative research, with special regard to the current situation and prospects concerning migrants and cities.
Publisher Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana
Host/Issue BEYOND ESSENTIALISMS: Challenges of Anthropology in the 21st Century, Book of abstracts
ISBN 978-961-237-390-0
Pages p 12-13
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) cosmopolitanism
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Social anthropology/ethnography
Note BEYOND ESSENTIALISMS: Challenges of Anthropology in the 21st Century, International Conference on the Occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Ljubljana, 25-27 November 2010
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