Meeresanrainer – Weltenbürger?
Zum Verhältnis von hafenstädtischer Gesellschaft und Kosmopolitismus
The Seaside Resident – A Citizen of the World? On Port City Societies and Cosmopolitanism
The article investigates the acclaimed social openness of port cities, subsumed under the label of cosmopolitanism. It argues that in the study of maritime urban diversity from a historical perspective, it is important to consider diversity not only as object of scrutiny, but also as part of the approach. When studying cosmopolitanism, one should aim to integrate all of the four common definitions: a) publicly visible diversity, b) an ability of individual or collective agents to navigate between differently coded spheres, c) an active practice of sociabilities that cross community borders, and d) a belief and a policy of enhancing cohesion without a monolithic base. When tracing the failures of cosmopolitanism, one must consider that the violent communalist or nationalist activism manifesting itself in port cities is not simply the intrusion of an antagonistic outside world, but rather the flipside of maritime urbanity, as both ethnocentrism and cosmopolitanism thrive under the same conditions.