The Cosmopolitan Predicament   /   Fall 2009   /    Essays

Cosmopolitanism and Democracy: Affinities and Tensions

Seyla Benhabib

Cosmopolitanism has become a much-evoked term in contemporary debates across a variety of fields, ranging from law to cultural studies, from philosophy to international politics. For me, cosmopolitanism involves the recognition that human beings are moral persons entitled to legal protection in virtue of the rights that accrue to them not as nationals, or members of an ethnic group, but as human beings as such. Cosmopolitanism acknowledges human interdependence and maintains that borders in the twenty-first century have become increasingly porous and that jus- tice inside borders and justice across borders are interconnected even if they can be, and often are, in tension as well.

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