POSTMODERNISM, COSMOPOLITANISM AND NATIONALISM: RETHINKING THE SELF-OTHER BOUNDARY
Today’s world is increasingly being defined as a global village in the sense that the revolution in ICT has ensured the interconnectedness of the entire world in a way that leads to radical redefinitions of most of our cherished concepts and ideas. For instance, the ideas of the nation and of nationalism are daily being assaulted by what has come to be regarded as the “cosmopolitan imagination.” Cosmopolitanism insists that our beingness in the world should be reassessed given the fact of globalization and the deepening plurality that essentially undermines all forms of national consciousness and of the identity of the self too. Postmodern cosmopolitanism therefore questions the traditional definition of the self along territorial boundaries and ethnic lines. And this argument is reinforced by the economic imperative which Empire imposes on the entire globe, according to Hardt and Negri. In this essay, I argue that from cosmopolitanism’s and postmodernism’s ambivalent relationship with modernity, it seems too hasty to think that we are facing the erasure of nationalism and identities as we know it. In spite of postmodern cosmopolitanism, the discourse of identity is still a pertinent one, as fundamentalism, for instance, reveals. Thus, the modern subject, rather than being totally defined by a cosmopolitan imagination, is actually a self caught in a maelstrom defined around unity and fragmentation, of nationality and internationalization.