Living in a Dissonant World: Toward an Agonistic Cosmopolitics for Education

Studies in Philosophy and Education 29 (2):213-228 (2010)

As a flashpoint for specific instances of conflict, Muslim sartorial practices have at times been seen as being antagonistic to “western” ideas of gender equality, secularity, and communicative practices. In light of this, I seek to highlight the ways in which such moments of antagonism actually might be understood on “cosmopolitical” terms, that is, through a framework informed by a critical and political approach to cosmopolitanism itself. Thus, through an “agonistic cosmopolitics” I here argue for a more robust political understanding of what a cosmopolitan orientation to cultural difference can offer education. The paper moves from a focus on harmony to agonism and from cosmopolitanism to the cosmopolitical, and within each I discuss the questions of democracy and universality, respectively. Drawing on, the work of Chantal Mouffe, Judith Butler and Bonnie Honig, I discuss the basis upon which our agonistic interactions can inform education in promoting better ways of living together. This requires, in my view, nothing less than a clear understanding of the very difficulties of pluralism and a questioning of some of the ways we often reflect on the political dimension of these difficulties. I offer some reflections on what an agonistic cosmopolitics has to offer the debates surrounding the wearing of various forms of Muslim dress in schools in the conclusion. My overall claim is that cosmopolitanism as a set of ideas that seek more peaceful forms of living together on a global scale is in need of a theoretical framework that faces directly the difficulties of living in a dissonant world.
Keywords Cosmopolitanism  Agonism  Cosmopolitics  Pluralism  Conflict  Democracy  Universalism  Muslim
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DOI 10.1007/s11217-009-9171-1
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References found in this work BETA

On the Political.Chantal Mouffe - 2006 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 68 (4):830-832.
Another Cosmopolitanism.Seyla Benhabib - 2006 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Process Matters: Moral Constraints on Cosmopolitan Education.Matthew J. Hayden - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 51 (1):248-266.
The Cosmopolitan Turn and the Primacy of Difference.Guoping Zhao - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 49 (4):510-524.

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