Cosmopolitanism, European Identities and Solidarity

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Hörsaal IOeG (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Laura LEONARDI, University of Florence, Italy
Gemma SCALISE, University of Florence, Italy
Solidarity and mutual recognition either among Europeans and non-Europeans have become the most urgent question in Europe. The Greek crisis, the unresolved problem of the refugee flows to Europe, as well as the consequent rise of anti-European and xenophobic populism in some EU member states are all signs of this. In this paper we assume the cosmopolitan perspective (Delanty 2009; Beck 2006; Giddens 2007) - beyond its normative dimension, using it for empirical application - as a conceptual tool for the interpretation of changes in the values and in the structure of interests at the basis of European identities. We affirm, as main hypothesis, that in Europe there is an emergence of new cosmopolitan values – such as mutual recognition, care and hospitality and an attitude of openness as opposed to closure – coming from the hybridation of local/regional/national cultures (Geertz 1999). Aspiration to improve social justice and tackle global challenges have become social practices, as well as ethical and political responses, and not only ideals. A “rooted cosmopolitanism” (Beck 2006) emerges through the experience and activism of civil societies, sometimes cooperating with municipalities and local institutions, which provide an important empirical evidence for conceiving solidarity beyond the terms of common economic interests, but also in terms of relations of mutual interdependence and engagement in shared projects of imagining another Europe. We focus on civil society actors, members of transnational organisations - individuals as well as social groups – which we consider a significant target for an empirical exploration of cosmopolitan social relations as a factual process, as well as on the social and institutional conditions which allow/impede practices of inclusiveness which incorporate diversity.