If we are flâneurs...

20th Sep 2017

If we are flâneurs, can we be cosmopolitans?

This new article by Bart van Leeuwen is now available online


Walter Benjamin’s and Charles Baudelaire’s personage of the flâneur can be interpreted as a representation of the ambivalent attraction to the strange and unknown in the experience of anonymous city life, so characteristic for the modern age. To what extent can we interpret this role of the flâneur – given its essential qualities in these writings – as a representation of world citizenship? The thesis is that the flâneur is more a cosmopolitan in the cultural than in the moral sense of the term. To live up to the demanding moral ideal of world citizenship, the flâneur needs to change: from detached observation to more meaningful forms of inter-cultural engagement. Hence the flâneur offers some clues for the kind of ethos that is required for a cosmopolitan subjectivity as well as for how it falls short.

You can access and read the full article here

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