Volume 28, 2011

China's Modenization I

John R. Gibbins
Pages 49-69

Principles for Cosmopolitan Societies
Values for Cosmopolitan Places

Postmodern theory is well placed to provide a useful resource in carrying forward the project of instituting cosmopolitan morality and justice at the local level. It is qualified to contribute because the central problematic of postmodern political theory is shared by cosmopolitanism, namely, how can a multiplicity of divergent autonomous groups, with few, or no shared cultural resources, negotiate and agree to share common spaces? How, can we have political and moral order when the preconditions, normally believed to accompany these, are non existent or unstable. Postmodern thinking also brings to the debate about cosmopolitanism, the resources that will allow for the toleration, openness and ingenuity that build upon eclecticism, pluralism, the celebration of difference, and expressivism in a period experiencing alteration, vulnerability, irony and insecurity. In approach, postmodern thinking shares with cosmopolitanism: a preference for particular narrative over grand narrative; the local over the global; particular over universal; difference over generalisation; eclecticism over absolutism; synchrony over unity; and pluralism over monism. Both approaches are resources that can help us re-learn how neighbours can live together in strange times.