Cosmopolitanism in Modernity: Human Dignity in a Global Age (Logos: Perspectives on Modern Society and Culture)

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9780739165409: Cosmopolitanism in Modernity: Human Dignity in a Global Age (Logos: Perspectives on Modern Society and Culture)
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At the close of the twentieth century, cosmopolitanism emerged as an important source of ideas for approaching the current challenges and opportunities of the intensifying global interconnections and socioeconomic disparities within and across borders. Anand Bertrand Commissiong analyzes the contributions of theorists seeking cosmopolitan solutions to struggles for human happiness and dignity. He focuses on the ways in which the ideal has been forced to adapt, by accepting its limitations, as it maintains its fundamental insistence on the potential of universal human community that simultaneously constitutively encompasses difference. He examines a combination of strategies specifically addressing individual, communal and intercommunal levels of human interaction that he argues are the most productive ways forward.

Commissiong recommends non-imperialist, accountable, coalitional strategies that set the stage for a different understanding of human beings in our contemporary globalizing world by offering a broad approach that can form coalitions with ideals beyond Western traditions, such as satyagraha, in order to conceive of dynamic human individuality and community that stretches beyond local boundaries. Commissiong makes a powerful argument for a new type of cosmopolitanism that is vital to the establishment of a truly just human existence at institutional, communal, and individual levels.

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About the Author:

Anand Bertrand Commissiong is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at West Texas A&M University.

Review:

Anand Commissiong provides an insightful and erudite discussion of a crucial topic for all progressive thinkers and activists. All of us will surely benefit from this impressive book. (Stephen Eric Bronner, Rutgers University)

Locating itself in the broadest reading of the history of political thought, this fine book makes an argument for "cosmopolitan virtue" as the foundation of a political theory cognizant of the unity between the particular and the universal in lived experience. Commissiong (West Texas A&M Univ.) offers this position as an alternative to both of today's dominant conceptions (and practices) of the "good life:" exclusionary fundamentalism and unfettered market neoliberalism. This book is to be commended for two main reasons. First, it offers an erudite, rigorous examination of the literature on cosmopolitanism (especially the work of Martha Nussbaum, Jurgen Habermas, and David Held), which has enjoyed a revival in the last ten or so years. Second, it enriches this debate by probing into its connections not only with the dominant accounts of political life, but also with important critics of these such as Antonio Hardt and Michael Negri. This strategy allows Commissiong to go beyond the more abstract positions of the cosmopolitans to provide an account capable of informing political activists and concerned citizens. The result is an erudite, very readable book that offers a substantially new point of departure for normative discussion and political practice. Summing Up: Highly recommended. (CHOICE)

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