The Paradox of the Cosmopolitan and the Local

9 Jun

One of the paradoxical facets of cultural diversity is that what Ulf Hannerz calls “cosmopolitans” and “locals” both have a shared interest in maintaining cultural diversity that to some extent could be regard as a kind of imbrication between the two apparently opposed groups:

“For the latter, diversity itself, as a matter of personal access to varied cultures, may be of little intrinsic interest. It just so happens that this is the principle which allows all locals to stick to their respective cultures. For the cosmopolitans, in contrast, there is value in diversity as such, but they are not likely to get it, in anything like its present form, unless other people are allowed to care out special niches for their cultures, and keep them. Which is to say there can be no cosmopolitans without locals.”

(Hannerz, Ulf. “Cosmopolitans and locals in world culture.” In Mike Featherstone, ed. Global Culture: Nationalism, Globalization and Modernity. Theory, Culture & Society Special Issue. London: Sage, 1990: 249-50.)

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