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Uses of the Idea

  • Zlatko Skrbis - Monash University, Australia
  • Ian Woodward - Syddansk Universitet, Denmark, Institute of Marketing and Management, University of Southern Denmark

April 2013 | 152 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Cosmopolitanism: Uses of the Idea offers an illuminating and dynamic account of an often confusing and widespread concept. Bringing together both historical and contemporary approaches to cosmopolitanism, as well as recognizing its multidimensional nature, Zlatko Skrbis and Ian Woodward manage to show the very essence of cosmopolitanism as a theoretical idea and cultural practice.

Through an exploration of various social fields, such as media, identity and ethics, the book analyses the limits and possibilities of the cosmopolitan turn and explores the different contexts cosmopolitanism theory has been, and still is, applied to. Critical, diverse and engaging, the book successfully answers questions such as:
  • How can we understand cosmopolitanism?
  • What is the relationship between cosmopolitanism and ethics?
  • What is the relationship between cosmopolitanism and identity?
  • How do cosmopolitan networks come into being?
  • How do we apply cosmopolitanism theory to contemporary, digital and mediated societies?
This comprehensive and authoritative title is a must for anyone interested in cultural consumption, contemporary citizenship and identity construction. It will be especially useful for students and scholars within the fields of social theory, ethics, identity politics, cultural diversity and globalisation.
Networks, Cosmoscapes and Encounters
Mediated Cosmopolitanism
Ordinary Cosmopolitanism

A landmark book in cosmopolitanism studies. The authors offer an original treatment of the subject - a cosmopolitanism grounded in real world settings. The focus on encountering cultural diffference is particualrly useful, especially the idea of 'cosmoscapes'. Similarly, the treatment of 'ordinary cosmopolitanism' is a real advance. This is a book that will satisfy readers new to the topic and challenge those who think they already understand cosmopolitanism.
Chris Rumford
Professor of Political Sociology and Global Politics, Royal Holloway University of London, UK

This book is an important contra point to self-indulging theoretisations on cosmopolitanism. In a very accessible manner it probes the term in various real life situations thereby illustrating how cosmopolitanism can be a grounded, analytical category central to social science. It is a stimulating and valuable resource to scholars working empirically and interested in cosmopolitanism.
Magdalena Nowicka
Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany

This book demonstrates the relevance of cosmopolitanism for an understanding of the world today.

It brings together very well the diverse strands in the literature. It is written in an accessible and engaging style.
Gerard Delanty
University of Sussex


The book is well written, clear and concise, demonstrating clear directions and plenty of social scientists’ accounts, but not hiding problem points and the limitations of the evolving processes of the global society. The book also refers to current, global encounters from the tragedy of Rwanda to the Western habit of “transnational adoptions of children”. It is clear that more research is needed with non-Western societies and working class people. According to their research evidence, it is accepted that the cosmopolitan discourse and disposition might lead to the increased level of tolerance and openness, which will make the world a better place.

Edit Kovacs
Potential Unleashed

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Zlatko Skrbis

Professor Zlatko Skrbis holds undergraduate degrees in philosophy and sociology of culture from the University of Ljubljana and a PhD in sociology from Flinders University. His research spans the areas of migration studies, social theory and life-course studies.  He is the author of numerous papers which appeared in some of the key international journals. His recent books include Cosmopolitanism: Uses of the Idea (2013, with Woodward), The Sociology of Cosmopolitanism (2009, with Kendall and Woodward) and Constructing Singapore (2008, with Barr; Arabic translation in 2013).  Zlatko is Vice... More About Author

Ian Woodward

Ian Woodward is a professor in the Department of Marketing and Management at the University of Southern Denmark. He has research interests in the sociological aspects of consumption and material culture and in the cultural and consumptive dimensions of cosmopolitanism, cultural openness, and boundary work. Most recently, he published the coauthored books Vinyl, The Analogue Record in the Digital Age (Bloomsbury, 2015, with Dominik Bartmanski) and Cosmopolitanism, Uses of the Idea (SAGE/Theory, Culture & Society, 2013, with Zlatko Skrbis). He has published widely on a range of related theoretical and empirical areas within consumption... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781849200639

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