Cosmopolitan encounters: reflexive engagements and the ethics of sharing

Stefanie Plage , Indigo Willing, Ian Woodward, Zlatko Skrbis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This study contributes to the growing research on everyday cosmopolitanism in diverse societies. We employ a cosmopolitan encounters framework to explore the reflexive openness people perform and the ethical reasoning they draw on to get along with each other. In particular, we look beyond pleasurable cosmopolitan pursuits to consider encounters that cause frictions or require notable efforts to bridge differences as an occasion for cosmopolitan conviviality. Based on qualitative interviews conducted in Australia, we aim to sharpen the demarcation between cosmopolitan encounters and those in which diversity is strategically negotiated by enacting practices of civility. We argue that cosmopolitanism emerges from interactions in encounters between individuals when they reflect on their positionality within unequal power relationships and their actions are guided by a cosmopolitan ethics. The ethical framework we propose is grounded in reflexive acts of sharing going beyond notions of giving and performing hospitality within a host/guest dyad.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)4-23
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Intercultural communication
  • intercultural competencies
  • sharing
  • Ethics
  • Cultural diversity


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