Cosmopolitanism Sits in Places: Consumption and Cosmopolitics in Latin America

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Renewed interest in cosmopolitanism has spread across the humanities and social sciences in recent decades. However, this growth has also carried many of the values underpinning cosmopolitanism as a Kantian ideal, including a denigration of consumption and material relations in favour of a putatively social core. In this article, however, I argue that cosmopolitanism is lived through the relations and politics of materiality and consumerism. Through an investigation of ethnographies of urban poverty in Latin America, cosmopolitanism emerges as a diverse, locally instantiated ideology and identity which diverges from many of the debates circulating in sites of academia. With an emphasis on marginalised communities, I reconsider cosmopolitanism as a series of material identities and relationships that develop within the context of economic and social inequality in both local and global scales.

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