Gender performance and cosmopolitan practice: Gender, the cosmopolitan imagination and everyday schemas of hospitality

Ian Woodward, Nina Høy-Petersen, Zlatko Skrbis

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaperResearch


Although empirically grounded accounts of cosmopolitanism have explored the impact of class, education, and ethnicity on cosmopolitan practices, no direct attention has yet been given to whether and how men and women might differently understand and frame cultural diversity. Indeed, as critical accounts of cosmopolitanism argue, research in the field commonly assumes the question of cosmopolitan citizenship to be gender neutral. Addressing this gap, the current paper analyses the gendered sociological features of everyday conceptions of hospitality - keeping in mind that the capacity to give and receive hospitality is often held to be a defining feature of the reflexive cosmopolitan outlook as well as the signature performative component of ethical cosmopolitanism. By applying the methodological concept of cognitive schema to a large set of qualitative data, we inductively assemble evidence that men and women have differently articulated ‘cosmopolitan imaginations’. Our findings show men’s conceptions of hospitality typically centre around ideals of rationality, power and control. Men are more inclined than women to draw stronger boundaries between the other and self, and to express allegiance to conditional forms of hospitality centred around nation-state based power hierarchies. Women, in contrast, generally express an inclination towards reciprocal, embodied forms of hospitality that foster inter-human bonds. We consider what explicit research attention to these gendered frames of cosmopolitan hospitality might mean for how we conceptualise, develop and advance critical theories of cosmopolitanism.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date25. Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 25. Aug 2015
Event12th Conference of the European Sociological Association: Differences, Inequalities and Sociological Imagination - University of Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 25. Aug 201528. Aug 2015
Conference number: 12


Conference12th Conference of the European Sociological Association
LocationUniversity of Prague
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic


  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Gender
  • Globalisation


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