Researchers in charge of the project: Delphine Pagès-El Karoui (INALCO, CERMOM) and Catherine Lejeune (Université Paris Diderot, LARCA)

The ‘World-Cities: Comparative Approaches to Cosmopolitanism and Migration’ group has set itself the task of making an original contribution to the theoretical, empirical and methodological debate on cosmopolitanism as a heuristic tool in the analysis of global cities, migratory phenomena, alterity and cultural diversity in the globalized world. It aims to create a space for intellectual discussion on the topic of cosmopolitanism as a specific analytical perspective on communal life and the functioning of social ties in global cities. Despite being extensively debated in many countries (e.g. Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Australia), this topic is still largely overlooked in France.

Topics and associated scientific events

Cosmopolitan World-Cities

With Catherine Lejeune (Université Paris Diderot, LARCA), Delphine Pagès-El Karoui (INALCO, CERMOM), Vincenzo Cicchelli (Université Paris Descartes, GEMASS), Camille Schmoll (Université Paris Diderot, Géographie-Cités), Antoine Pécoud (Université Paris 13, CERAL) and Hélène Thiollet (Sciences Po, CERI)

This sub-project operates at the crossroads of global studies, urban studies and migration research. It analyses urban change by linking it to mobilities and migration and aims to gain an understanding of the construction mechanisms of global cities. More specifically, in the context of the ‘world-cities’, it attempts to reflect on the concept of cosmopolitan cities and to record the empirical manifestations of cosmopolitanism through an approach that is multidisciplinary, comparative (in particular by varying the focus between the migratory contexts of integration and non-integration in Europe, the United States and the Gulf) and situated (with a focus on the spaces constructed by cosmopolitan situations).

The Language of Migration

With Florence Mourhlon-Dallies (Université Paris Descartes, EDA) and Marie Veniard (Université Paris Descartes, EDA).

This sub-project aims to carry out a comparative investigation of the vocabulary of migration from the perspective of its relationship with cosmopolitanism. It sets out to study a series of keywords relating to migration in different languages with a view to highlighting their actual meaning as they are used and not as abstractions of meaning produced by a dictionary. This multidisciplinary project (linguistics and political science) involves four countries (France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy) and draws on comparable corpuses of written press texts dating from 1998 to 2012. The French corpus, for example, includes 16 million words and will be compared with a corpus of institutional discourses comprising glossaries devoted to the vocabulary of migration (in French, German and English). With the help of these words, we aim to access the discourses and policies relating to migration in each country. The question regarding the flow of the words between (national and European) institutional discourses and media discourses will also be examined, as will the issue of their translatability. The question of cosmopolitanism is adopted here through the prism of lexical events of opening, acceptation, hospitality towards migrants or, conversely, closure, rejection and refusal.

The Figure of the Immigrant Consumer in Europe: Franco-German Perspectives

With Virginie Silhouette-Dercourt (Université Paris 13, CEPN / Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin)

Almost one European in five is born abroad or has one or both parents from a different country, and consumption practices and material culture are being altered as a result of this diversity. What is happening here is the diffusion of a form of ‘bottom-up’ cosmopolitanism caused by the figure of the immigrant consumer. The aim of this project is to facilitate the emergence of a new research field relating to these processes of transformation prompted by the figure of the (extra-European) immigrant consumer on the European continent through a comparison based on Paris and Berlin. In view of the increasing diversity of the European population, it important to gain an understanding of the blind spots of the research on immigration, that is the consumption angle, and to focus on the spatial, social and symbolic dimensions of this consumption.

Cosmopolitanism and Withdrawal in Post-attack Society

With Vincenzo Cicchelli (Université Paris Descartes, GEMASS) and Sylvie Octobre (Département des études de la prospective et des statistiques au Ministère de la Culture)

This sub-project starts from the idea that, far from disappearing, the cultural boundaries that unite and separate human groups are becoming both more permeable and more rigid, more open and more closed. Our societies are opening up to other societies (the culture we consume originates from elsewhere and through international mobility, it is constantly confronted with cultural difference), while also experiencing an identity-based withdrawal, which can be observed in particular in the diffusion of xenophobic rhetoric and the strong resurgence and/or rise in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. There is nothing surprising about this. Globalization – which is at the root of this paradox – is a machine that produces interdependencies and it shines the spotlight on both integration and fragmentation, inclusion and exclusion. It provides opportunities for cultural opening and empowerment for the most mobile individuals but creates new inequalities, frustrations, disenchantment and uprootedness. Those who perceive themselves as the losers in the global economic competition and as excluded from the distribution of wealth are tempted by this identity-based withdrawal.
Hence this project aims to explore the impact of the mechanisms of opening and closure of cultural boundaries on the lives of individuals, particularly in a city like Paris which has been profoundly shaken by manifestations of violence (attacks of 2015 and 2016).