Cosmopolitan Citizenship: Virtue, Irony, and Worldliness

William Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    58 Citations (Scopus)


    In this article, it is argued that cosmopolitans should elucidate the qualities and dispositions, or ‘virtues’, associated with the ideal of cosmopolitan citizenship. Bryan Turner's suggestion that cosmopolitan virtue should be identified as a type of ‘Socratic irony’, which enables individuals to achieve distance from their homeland or way of life, is explored. While acknowledging the attractions of his account, certain limitations which indicate the need to generate a richer theory of cosmopolitan virtue are identified. To that end, an alternative picture of cosmopolitan virtue is presented by drawing on Hannah Arendt's ideas of ‘world’ and ‘worldliness’. It is argued that cosmopolitan virtue involves the adoption of a self-reflexive mode of being in the world, the cultivation of a heightened care or feeling for the world, and the ability to adopt certain skills in the manner of our disclosures to the world.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-52
    Number of pages16
    JournalEuropean Journal of Social Theory
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


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