Beyond a 'Realistic' New Cosmopolitan Ideal: A Non-Sovereign Politics of Solidarity

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This paper considers how a new cosmopolitan vision of integration and the integrated society associated with the work of Jurgen Habermas and Ulrich Beck has been applied by Bryan Fanning (2009) in the context of the Republic of Ireland. It suggests that there is a need to seriously consider the limitations of how subjectivity is theorised in this model. The paper specifically questions the implied necessity of having to consider how the politics of integration is always dictated in the last instance by the centrality of the nation-state to the demand for solidarity. It instead problematises the associated image which this reproduces of the absolute space of subjectivity given the emphasis on dichotomous categories such as included/excluded, national/non-national, new Irish/old Irish, guest/host. What is suggested is that this model presents a very specific conception of what and where the politics of integration can be, namely as that which must be defined in the last instance in terms of already divisible sovereign autonomous persons or autonomous groups of such persons who need to be bonded with each other. The paper uses the work of Julia Kristeva to suggest how a different politics of solidarity might be envisaged. Unlike the former politics of solidarity which is based on the question of how to build bonds between those included in and those excluded from Irish society (thus emphasizing the need for ever more integration). This is one which is based on the importance of recognizing the manner in which people are always already bonded to each other and to Irish society in many different ways associated with contingent space which dominant dichotomous categories of subjectivity cannot account for.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalTranslocations: Migration and Social Change
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • new cosmopolitanism; politics; integration; subjectivity; space; sovereignty


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