Performing cosmopolitanism: The context and object framing of cosmopolitan openness

Ian Woodward, Zlatko Skrbis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter addresses the question of how to conceptualise cosmopolitanism for empirical research and focuses on the notion of openness as a principal discourse of contemporary cosmopolitanism studies. It explores the application of performative and qualitative approaches to researching cosmopolitanism as a form of openness to cultural difference. The chapter specifies cosmopolitanism through traditional social scientific models deploying a variable-centred model of inquiry and discusses the additional relevance of a performative theory. It argues that a performative approach is well suited to exploring cosmopolitanism as an emergent, relational dimension of social life rather than a stable feature of identities or social types. Cosmopolitanism can be conceptualised as a flexible, available set of cultural practices and outlooks which are selectively mobilised depending on social and cultural contexts. Accordingly, the idea of cultural 'openness' has been a fountainhead for general conceptions of cosmopolitanness as an outlook or, disposition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge International Handbook of Cosmopolitanism Studies
EditorsGerard Delanty
Place of PublicationLondon
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)9781138493117
ISBN (Electronic)9781351028905
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • cosmopolitanism
  • Sociology
  • material culture
  • senses
  • Social Theory
  • Consumption


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