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Cosmopolis, University of Helsinki, Finland 2-4 June 2000

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    Taken from the Cyber Society List - http://www.unn.ac.uk/cybersociety Date: 22 December 1999 14:13 Subject: Cosmopolis Conference Theory, Culture & Society and
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2000
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      Taken from the Cyber Society List - http://www.unn.ac.uk/cybersociety

      Date: 22 December 1999 14:13
      Subject: Cosmopolis Conference

      Theory, Culture & Society and
      Network Institute for Global Democratization
      Conference
      Democratizing Global Economy and Culture

      Friday 2 - Saturday 3 June 2000
      University of Helsinki, Finland


      As we prepare to cross the millennium, the idea of cosmopolitanism is
      attracting increasing interest. For some the term holds out the prospect
      of global democratization. The hope that cosmopolitan groups will be in
      the
      forefront of establishing values, institutions and lifestyles which are
      less
      directly embedded within nation-state societies. For others the
      cosmopolitan is a figure to be reviled as it has become associated with
      'the
      revolt of the elites,' the inability of upper and middle class groups to
      sustain a sense of responsibility towards the growing numbers of the
      excluded around the world. These mobile elites who enjoy the freedom of
      physical movement and communication, stand in stark contrast to those who
      are confined to place, whose fate is to remain located.

      Equally harsh in its judgement of cosmopolitanism is the perspective which
      presents the cosmopolitan as dabbling rootlessly in a variety of cultures.
      This view of the cosmopolitan as voyeur, parasite, or some sort of cultural
      tourist, again emphasizes this incapacity to form lasting attachments and
      commitments to place and others, the inability to participate in a
      community
      to which one feels obliged to make sacrifices. This restless pursuit of
      experience, aesthetic sensations and novelty over duties, obligations and
      social bonds, is allegedly something which best fits anglophone societies,
      such as the United States and Britain, in which the market values of the
      trader, who looks, deals and moves on, are often seen to be key formative
      features of the current world-view.

      This raises two related questions. Firstly, the extent to which
      cosmopolitan dispositions are closely associated with cities. Cities have
      long been the sites for markets and the mixing of people, commodities,
      ideas
      and cultures. They have been the homes of a wide range of intellectual and
      artistic, social and cultural movements and institutions. Secondly, if
      cosmopolitanism in the arts was associated with modernism in cities such as
      Paris, London and New York, which now become centres of cultural heritage
      tourism, how far do more recently developed global cities such as So
      Paulo,
      Singapore and Bombay manifest similar processes of transnational cultural
      exchange and mixing? This points to a more fundamental question: while
      cosmopolitanism may well be a Western project and projection, how far have
      varieties of cosmopolitanism avant la lettre, been present outside the
      West?
      What equivalent forms of cosmopolitan experiences, practices,
      representations and carrier groups developed, for example, in China, Japan,
      India and the Islamic world? What were the characteristic forms of
      civility
      and civic virtues, urbanity and urbane conduct, and how were notions of
      travel, exploration and innovation valued?

      If we look at the origin of the term cosmopolis, it refers to the links
      between cosmos, the order of nature or the universe, and polis, the order
      of
      human society. While many cultures have assumed there is a direct link
      between the order of nature and the order of society, the dream of Western
      modernity was that science and technology would eventually discover and
      exploit the principle forms of order at work in both realms. Technology
      would implement these findings to tame and control both external nature,
      along with the inner nature and social life of human beings. Yet the
      tragic, or dark side of modernity emphasised the sacrifice of all
      previously
      existing forms of order through the pursuit of progress. At the end of
      the
      second millennium, we are only too well aware of the dangers and risks of
      this process, of the finitude of nature as a living space for human beings
      and other life forms, along with the infinitude of our potential to develop
      culture, to weave narratives around this process. The cosmopolitan was
      meant to be someone who in principle could know everything, who would learn
      how best to act from the accumulation of knowledge. Yet this technological
      potential for the archiving and data-basing of cultures does not offer any
      easy recipes on how to make adequate practical judgements, especially when
      we globalise the scope of our actions beyond the site of our accustomed set
      of identifications.

      In terms of Western notions of practice, the cosmopolitan political ideal
      derives from the Kantian tradition and entails some notion of a polis
      extending around the globe. This implies some form of world-state, or
      federation of states, which would involve the development of cosmopolitan
      or
      supra-national law and forms of citizenship and governance. The
      compatibility of this vision with the continuing impact of global
      marketization, along with the de-globalizing reactions of identity politics
      and balkanization, and the persistence of civilizational and cultural
      traditions, is an open question. At the very least, if global
      democratization is to move forward it can be argued that it must not merely
      be the project of a Western centre, but become gradually assembled from a
      range of cross cultural dialogues.

      Mike Featherstone Theory, Culture & Society Centre
      Heikki Patomki Network Institute for Global Democratization
      John Tomlinson Centre for Research in International Communications &
      Culture


      Conference Programme

      The first day will explore cosmopolitan spaces and representations from a
      largely theoretical perspective, whereas the second day will focus on more
      concrete, topical political issues under the rubric of democratic reforms
      of
      cosmopolis. Many of the perspectives of the second day have been directly
      stimulated by the Network Institute for Global Democratization, a
      Helsinki-based NGO working alongside the Theory, Culture & Society Virtual
      Institute for Global Culture. Both are experimental projects designed to
      explore the politics of global citizenship and the new information
      technologies and have aims which are as much practical-political as
      academic.

      Aims and Outcomes

      The conference has both academic and ethico-political aims. With respect
      to
      the academic aim, we intend publishing a selection of conference papers in
      a
      special issue of the journal Theory, Culture & Society. We also intend
      launching a series of 'travelling seminars' in conjunction with the TCS
      Virtual Institute for Global Culture and the Network Institute for Global
      Democratization (NIGD) to further explore the practical implications of
      global democratization and public sphere activities. The main
      ethico-political aim, then, is to open up a public and multicultural
      discussion on the meanings of cosmopolitanism and their relation to global
      reform.

      The special issue of Theory, Culture & Society will be built around a
      selection of the conference papers, and will come out in the year 2001.
      The
      travelling seminar will be developed out of the work of the conference.
      The
      idea is simple: to organise working seminars on strictly delimited topics
      and with both an academic and a practical-political intent. Based also on
      the relations and arrangements of the NIGD and TCS Virtual Institute, the
      travelling seminar will function as a node in a network of academic and
      political activities, with the aim of not only helping to work towards the
      solution of practical issues, but also feeding new, theoretically informed
      ideas and interpretations into practices. The travelling seminar strives
      to
      empower cosmopolitan political actors, particularly those excluded or
      marginalized, as well as contributing to finding more adequate, democratic
      responses to the problems of the crisis-ridden global economy and culture.

      There is also a further and more abstract ethico-political aim to this
      conference as well. By bringing together different voices on
      cosmopolitanism, the idea is to further a more wide-ranging and
      participatory discussion of the potential for democratizing global economy
      and culture. Hence, we would like to invite both sceptics and advocates
      from a range of different cultures to become involved in a dialogue on the
      philosophical and practical possibility of cosmopolitan global reforms.

      Organizing Committee

      Mike Featherstone Katarina Sehm Patomki
      Heikki Patomki John Tomlinson
      Liisa Laakso Pauline Eadie
      Alison Pancoe Terry McSwiney

      Advisory Committe

      Stephen Chan Teivo Teivainen
      Bryan S Turner Jan Nederveen Pieterse
      Eleonore Kofman Couze Venn
      Scott Lash R B J Walker
      Turo Virtanen Colin Mercer

      Information, Fees and Paper proposals

      Email: cosmopolis@...
      Fax: +44 (0)115 8486331

      Conference Fee

      150 before 15 April 2000 (190 thereafter)





      Theory, Culture & Society Centre
      Faculty of Humanities, Nottingham Trent University
      Clifton Lane, Nottingham NG11 8NS, United Kingdom

      Tel: +44 (0)115 948 6330 / 6332
      Fax: +44 (0)115 948 6331
      E-mail: tcs@...
      Web: http://tcs.ntu.ac.uk

      Forthcomimg TCS conferences:
      Inhabiting Technologies, ICA, London 10-12 March 2000
      Cosmopolis, University of Helsinki, Finland 2-4 June 2000




      Theory, Culture & Society Centre
      Faculty of Humanities, Nottingham Trent University
      Clifton Lane, Nottingham NG11 8NS, United Kingdom

      Tel: +44 (0)115 948 6330 / 6332
      Fax: +44 (0)115 948 6331
      E-mail: tcs@...
      Web: http://tcs.ntu.ac.uk

      Forthcomimg TCS conferences:
      Inhabiting Technologies, ICA, London 10-12 March 2000
      Cosmopolis, University of Helsinki, Finland 2-4 June 2000


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