The Cosmopolitan City

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3 Citations (SciVal)


This chapter explores whether Paris, perceived in France as a global cultural capital rather than a multicultural city, shares with London the status of cosmopolitan metropolis. After reviewing various competing concepts such as cosmopolitan, multicultural, transnational, global or postcolonial, it argues that multiculturalism refers mostly to the presence of ethnic, religious or sexual difference in cities or to claims for the recognition of cultural otherness while cosmopolitanism evokes the idea of world citizenship and promotes identities which are not territorially based. A comparative approach focusing on the construction of transnational identities in French and British spatial imagination is used to highlight the contrast between London’s acknowledgment of its historical, cultural and ethnic diversity and its openness to incorporate writers from postcolonial minority groups into the national literary canon and France’s reticence to recognise writers of postcolonial ascendance as poperly French. The chapter argues that this predominantly nation-centred concept of Frenchness leads to a conceptualisation of Paris as a hegemonic cultural capital attracting transnational avant-gardes from around the world rather than a genuinely diverse global city.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Ashgate Research Companion to Cosmopolitanism
EditorsM. Rovisco, M. Nowicka
Place of PublicationLondon, U. K.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781317043782
ISBN (Print)9780754677994
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2011

Publication series

NameAshgate Research Companions


  • cosmopolitan
  • postcolonial
  • city
  • literature
  • global
  • transnational

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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