Theories of globalisation focusing on the intensification of transnational flows of people, capital and ideas appear to challenge the hitherto local forms of solidarity. At the same time, international crises, ethnic conflicts and an emerging interest in multiculturalism have rendered cosmopolitanism as a form of global solidarity an appealing ideal and social project. This promise of cosmopolitanism as a claim about global belonging and solidarity has attracted as many critics as it has advocates. This paper will attempt to defend cosmopolitanism as an emerging reality and will suggest its exploration in relation to global media and communications. It will argue that cosmopolitanism should be thought about and explored as a process “from below” rather than a project “from above”. In this process, media constitute a significant force in forging relations of connectivity and responsibility towards distant others. This is especially the case in the coverage of disasters at a global scale, when audiences are faced with the vulnerability of distant others. The paper will be empirically grounded on a study of Greek audiences in relation to media coverage of distant disasters. It will draw upon material from focus group discussions on the ways people relate to different instances of distant suffering and their victims. Cosmopolitanism as a form of global solidarity, it will be argued, is a rather elusive and vulnerable condition, heavily dependent on media representational practices and conditioned by cultural biases and interpretations. It is, however, an emergent possibility, expressed in terms of responsibility for distant others and of imagining the globe as a terrain of potential action.
|Keywords:||Cosmopolitanism, Disasters, Global Media, Audiences|
PhD Candidate, Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics, London, UK
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