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Edited by Hein-Anton van der Heijden
Chapter 9: Global and cosmopolitan citizenship
The idea of global, cosmopolitan or world citizenship has accompanied reflection of citizenship from its inception in the Greek polis onwards. Diogenes the Cynic is supposed to have said in the fourth century BCE, when asked where he came from, ‘kosmopolites eimi’ (‘I am a citizen of the world’) (Miller, 2011, p. 6). In his essay ‘Perpetual Peace’ (1795) Kant highlights cosmopolitan right as the hospitality owed to all fellow humans. Notwithstanding the philosophical and idea-historical importance of these contributions, the notion of cosmopolitan citizenship has been standing for the most part of the history of political thought in the shadow of territorial citizenship. Citizenship referred primarily to the membership of a specific political community, a polis, empire, or – for the last few centuries – a sovereign (nation-)state. The enjoyment of equal rights, political participation and identity were supposed to require political borders. In this setting, cosmopolitan citizenship could draw attention to the moral shortcomings resulting from the exclusiveness that defines territorial citizenship, but did not constitute a self-sufficient alternative. During the last decades, the idea of global citizenship has been rapidly emancipated from its marginal position. As a consequence of globalization, the key elements of citizenship – identity, moral responsibilities, rights, and political participation – no longer appear to be strictly confined to national political communities. Political identities cut through borders and political activists unite across countries in shared global goals. The number and influence of international governmental and nongovernmental organizations have increased enormously.
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