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About the centre

About us

Civil societies have become key sites of cosmopolitanism, and centrally important in shaping prospects for cultural diversity, social justice and a life free from political violence. How to understand the dynamics of cosmopolitan civil societies has become one of the most important challenges of the current era.

At Cosmopolitan Civil Societies we realise urgent cosmopolitan questions are posed by the intensification of global flows across societies, and by the simultaneous deepening of divides within and between societies. Inter-connectivity has become a fact of human existence across multiple dimensions; the urgency of acting on it is paramount.

All around the world societies are facing:

  • The unrelenting volatility of global finance,
  • the unprecedented transformations of industrialising societies,
  • the emergence of global environmental crisis,
  • the radical destabilisation of subsistence livelihood,
  • the displacement and dispersal of populations within and across borders,
  • the advent of civil war as the primary manifestation of military conflict,

These all create the need for new cosmopolitan capacities. How can peoples work together to address these and other common problems, whether in everyday contexts or in international institutions?

The Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre addresses these issues through innovative interdisciplinary work at the level of theoretical development, grounded research and policy analysis. The centre draws together practitioner-academics from economics, education, law, management, politics and sociology. Within this interdisciplinary field we engage a range of theoretical approaches to cosmopolitanism and to civil society, we articulate differing analytical concepts, and we build multidisciplinary on-the-ground investigations.

Members of the centre analyse civil societies using concepts of globalisation, network society, multiculturalism, sustainability, social capital, social economy, social movement, popular education, community organization, community law. They bring widely varying approaches to cosmopolitanism, from abstract humanism to grounded engagement, whether reflected in forms of governance, modes of identification, or processes of dialogue. The centre brings together the richness of this plurality to develop more comprehensive and truly multidisciplinary approaches to the analysis of cosmopolitan civil societies at global, national and local levels.