Cosmopolitanism and the Sociology of Europe
Sociological Studies Department Sheffield University Sheffield, UK
Cosmopolitanism has been recently proposed as a relevant sociological perspective for understanding European society, for instance in the work of Ulrich Beck and his colleagues. The paper reflects on this proposal. It considers the concept of cosmopolitanism and assesses its relevance in the sociological and social theoretical understanding of Europe in both normative and analytic terms. The paper argues that the cosmopolitan perspective has considerable potential sociological and social theoretical relevance and use providing it is interpreted i) normatively in ?minimal? or ?negative? terms, and ii) analytically in ways which focus on the ?coexistence? and ?complexity? characteristics of European history and sociality. The discussion draws on aspects of my new book ?Exploring the Sociology of Europe: An analysis of the European Social Complex? (2009, Sage, London).