Cosmopolitanism As Transformative Experience: Education, Extremisms and a New Social Ethic in the Post-Truth Era

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Reza GHOLAMI, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Arguably more pertinent now than ever before, this paper calls for a serious commitment to cosmopolitanism, not as an abstract idea(l) or linked in any way to a hegemonic elitist culture, but as a (new) social ethic. I argue that secular and religious ethics are no longer the appropriate pillars for social relations – nor are nationalism or neo-liberal globalism. Rather, we need a post-universalist cosmopolitanism that offers a framework for critical discourse as well as concrete strategies for daily living. I attempt to operationalise this argument through what I call ‘every-day flexible transformation’. Furthermore, my argument implicates ideas of education – formal and informal – as paramount in conceiving of and implementing the sort of cosmopolitan discourses, practices and policies needed to ensure a safer, more inclusive future. In this context, I critique the taken-for-granted nature of secularism in contemporary Western education systems and call for a ‘critical secular studies’ (on a par with Religious Studies) particularly at the level of secondary education.