Situated Cultural Cosmopolitanism between East and West

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Tally KATZ-GERRO, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Femida HANDY, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Contemporary cultural cosmopolitanism is closely linked to the global spread of cultural genres, ideas, and products, facilitating the adoption of openness to a diversity of ideas and experiences. The consumption of culturally diverse genres, ideas, and products is particularly prevalent among and interesting to young people, who tend to be more mobile, influenced by mass media, and exposed to global trends in fashion, food, and culture.

Analysis of cultural cosmopolitanism often fails to recognize the social conditions of its own construction, presenting it as free from social belonging rather than as a special sort of belonging. Strong attachments to national, religious, or community-based solidarities may create varieties of cosmopolitanism. The interest in such cosmopolitanism, which is an amalgam of contradictions, stems from the central role that cosmopolitanism, as a form of competency in culture and consumption, plays in contemporary society especially among young adults, in shaping inequality and various forms of attainment.

In this presentation, we discuss cultural cosmopolitan dispositions and practices among young adults who have different forms and degrees of attachment to local and global cultures and occupy different positions in the social structure. Empirical evidence is drawn from 60 interviews conducted with young adults in Seoul in 2016 and 2017.

In the presentation of findings, we emphasize new evidence in a field that tends to focus on Western societies; we explore perceptions of the “other” and motivations for engaging with other among young Koreans; we outline the way our research can advance theories of cultural cosmopolitanism by extending the analysis to non-Western and traditional societies; and we identify the antecedents of cosmopolitanism and offer a typology of motivations to engage in cultural cosmopolitanism.