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Keywords:

  • cosmopolitanism;
  • empathy;
  • global governance;
  • globalization;
  • nationalism

abstract.

In this article I set nationalism and cosmopolitanism into sharp contrast with one another as inherently incompatible geographical imaginations. I begin by briefly denaturalizing nationalism and the nation-state. I then turn to the philosophy and political agenda of cosmopolitanism, an ideology simultaneously very old and new, which offers a more inclusive and empathetic alternative to nationalist xenophobia. In the third section I argue that contemporary globalization has laid the ontological foundations of a cosmopolitan world order. Next, I explicate nationalism's and cosmopolitanism's competing visions of the definition and meaning of “community.” I summarize major objections to cosmopolitanism and offer a defense of it. In the following section I focus on the implications of cosmopolitanism for contemporary geography, including relational spatialities of empathy and caring. Finally, I suggest that contemporary globalization is gradually putting into place the legal and institutional apparatus for cosmopolitan global governance and democracy.