Theory, Culture and Society 35 (7-8):131-140 (2018)

This is a tribute to Ulrich Beck and a rumination on his legacy in work on cosmopolitanism, translation, anxiety, and memory. Historical transitions and symbolic transmissions open up urgent questions about the connection between the structure of collective memory and the system of cosmopolitical thought. Public memory is embedded in an affective matrix of anxiety which is capable of creating the conciliatory conditions of political virtue and of fueling the terror of political passion. The vicious and sudden turn of cosmopolitan memory from reconciliation to revenge is less surprising if anxiety is seen as the translational moment that mediates relations between remembering and forgetting. Anxiety forces the discourse of cosmopolitan memory to confront its own alterity, negotiating a knife-edge balance between sympathy and antipathy. The ethics of cosmopolitanism is an anxious ethics of the past that refuses to die, confronting a future that will not wait to be born.
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DOI 10.1177/0263276418812941
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