Decolonizing global citizenship

Authored by: Charles T. Lee

Routledge Handbook of Global Citizenship Studies

Print publication date:  June  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415519724
eBook ISBN: 9780203102015
Adobe ISBN: 9781136237966


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In an era of rapid transnational movement of human subjects, capital, commodities, informational technology, media images, and ideologies, – Arjun Appadurai in the 1990s famously described the myriad dimensions of global cultural flow by speaking of ‘ethnoscapes’, ‘mediascapes’, ‘technoscapes’, ‘financescapes’, and ‘ideoscapes’ (Appadurai 1996) – it is enticing to speak of a democratic vision of global citizenship that imagines new configurations of rights, responsibilities, and civic political institutions beyond national-territorial boundaries. In the last two decades, two genres of academic literatures have emerged that capture the invigorating sentiment and dynamic of the global turn to citizenship. The first genre, proceeding from the belief that human beings are ‘citizens of the world’, formulates conceptions of cosmopolitan or global citizenship from the ‘high’ vantage point of global governance and international civil society (Nussbaum 1996, Dower and Williams 2002, Benhabib 2004, Linklater 2007). In the words of Andrew Linklater (2002: 329), the idea of cosmopolitan or global citizenship does not lie in the creation of a global state or world government that replaces national sovereignties, but rather aims ‘to extend elements of national citizenship … into the global arena in order that large monopolies of power are accountable to those who are most affected by them’.

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