What does it mean to be cosmopolitan? An examination of the varying meaningfulness and commensurability of everyday 'cosmopolitan' practices

Michael Skey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The literature on cosmopolitanism has mushroomed in the past decade or more as attempts are made to theorise new patterns of mobility, interactions between previously distant social groups and the emergence of institutions to manage these processes. In this paper, I build on the arguments of those who have emphasised the strategic aspects and temporal dimensions of cosmopolitan expressions and practices, by focusing on the resources and constraints that different actors operate with, or under, and, as a result, the varying commitments they have to different 'others'. Using this type of grounded approach, a number of Illustrative examples from a study of social identities in England are then analysed and used to theorise cosmopolitanism, as a perspective that is periodically articulated, in relation to specific needs, contexts or prompts, rather than being an inherent property of particular individuals, groups or situations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-252
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • cosmopolitan
  • cosmopolitanism
  • globalisation
  • identity
  • nationalism
  • qualitative research
  • ethnic group
  • globalization
  • mobility
  • qualitative analysis
  • research
  • England
  • United Kingdom

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