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Reference: Rahul Rao, (2008). Postcolonial cosmopolitanism. DPhil. University of Oxford.Citable link to this page:


Postcolonial cosmopolitanism Subtitle: Between home and the world

Abstract: The thesis aims to address criticisms of cosmopolitanism that characterise it as an elite discourse, by exploring the role that it might play in Third World resistance movements. In doing so, it complicates the landscape of international normative theory, which has traditionally been mapped as a debate between cosmopolitanism and communitarianism. Part I of the thesis argues that cosmopolitanism and communitarianism can function as languages in which First and Third World states respectively justify exercises of power that impede the self-determination of Third World societies. These discourses of power frame the condition of postcoloniality, which might be understood – borrowing the terminology of International Society theorists – as an entrapment of Third World societies between 'coercive solidarism' and 'authoritarian pluralism'. A normative worldview committed to enhancing the scope for self-determination of such societies must be critical of the production of both external and internal environments that are hostile to the enjoyment of self-determination by Third World peoples. Part II of the thesis explores the political challenges of sustaining such a critique by studying four theorists of resistance who perceive themselves as manoeuvring between hostile external and internal environments. It analyses the political thought of Rabindranath Tagore and Edward Said, who were both leading figures of anti-colonial nationalist movements but also fierce critics of nationalism. It also studies the activism of two leaders in the field of 'anti-globalisation' protest – Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatistas in Mexico and Professor Nanjundaswamy of the Karnataka State Farmers' Association in India – who struggle against both national elites and global capital. Part II concludes that if resistance in the condition of postcoloniality must grapple simultaneously with both a hostile 'outside' and 'inside', it must speak in mixed registers of universalism and particularity. Cumulatively, the thesis demonstrates that the language of common humanity operates in ways that are both oppressive and emancipatory, just as the language of community is a source of both repression and refuge. Normative theory that does not seek to hold both in tension fails the needs of our non-ideal world.

Digital Origin:Born digital Type of Award:DPhil Level of Award:Doctoral Awarding Institution: University of Oxford Notes:Citation: Rahul Rao,'Postcolonial cosmopolitanism: between home and the world', D.Phil. thesis, Politics & International Relations, University of Oxford, 2007.


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 Bibliographic Details

Issue Date: 2008

Copyright Date: 2007 Identifiers

Urn: uuid:6eb91e22-9563-49a2-be2b-402a4edd99b5 Item Description

Type: thesis;

Language: en Keywords: cosmopolitanism communitarianism nationalism Third World postcolonial resistance international society solidarism pluralismSubjects: Social justice Democratic government Global economic governance International studies Political ideologies International relations International normative theory Postcolonial theory Tiny URL: ora:1748


Autor: Dr Rahul Rao - institutionUniversity of Oxford facultySocial Sciences Division - Politics and International Relations oxfordColle



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