Edinburgh Research Explorer

Cosmopolitanism meets language education: Considering objectives and strategies for a new pedagogy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Critical Turn in Language and Intercultural Communication Pedagogy
Subtitle of host publicationTheory, Research and Practice
EditorsMaria Dasli, Adriana Diaz
Place of PublicationNew York; Abingdon
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter10
Pages162-179
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781315667294
ISBN (Print)9781138953451, 9780367024307
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2016

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Language and Intercultural Communication
PublisherRoutledge

Abstract

In the 21st century, the ancient concept of cosmopolitanism-a vision of humanity as a single community with shared responsibilities and diverse identities-has recaptured the imagination of scholars in the social sciences and the humanities. The cultural and socio-political significance of cosmopolitanism has been the subject of both theoretical and empirical research (cf. Beck & Sznaider, 2006; Inglis, 2014) across a constellation of disciplines (cf. Delanty, 2012, for a brief overview). Yet its educational significancehighlighted by Nussbaum in her influential essay Cosmopolitanism and Patriotism (1996)—has come into focus only in recent years. ‘Cosmopolitanism’ has become an almost obligatory reference in educational discourse, particularly in the higher education context, which is engaged increasingly in internationalisation processes (Richardson, 2015; Trahar, Green, de Wit & Whitsed, 2015). However, the concept is deployed in myriad ways (cf. Skrbis & Woodward, 2013) and is tied to sometimes conflicting philosophical positions (cf. Hansen, 2010a; Hansen, 2010b; Pieri, 2014; Vertovec & Cohen, 2002), making it difficult for teachers to understand how the concept may be applied effectively to classroom practice. This methodological gap is also evident in the field of language pedagogy, which historically has tended to engage more implicitly than explicitly with philosophical and sociological theories and research. Now it stands to benefit from deliberate engagement with these, to overcome the association of language learning with essentialist notions of national cultures that has prevailed since the mid-19th century (Starkey, 2010).

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