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Cosmopolitanism Sits in Places: Consumption and Cosmopolitics in Latin America

David Thompson
Published Online: 2015-05-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/irsr-2012-0027



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.

Keywords: cosmopolitanism; consumption; material culture; space; Latin America


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About the article

Published Online: 2015-05-06

Published in Print: 2012-10-01

Citation Information: International Review of Social Research, Volume 2, Issue 3, Pages 59–77, ISSN (Online) 2069-8534, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/irsr-2012-0027.

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© David Thompson. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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