The Home and the World

  • Abstract:

    The prospective paper aims to elucidate a praxis that negotiates cosmopolitical strategies of creating a common world. It surveys a topology of 26 Couchsurfing homes in Europe, describing places that materialize cosmopolitanism through the practices of hospitality. Furthermore, this paper constructs thereof an assemblage of a European open home. The central question in this paper asks what is cosmopolitcal praxis in the context of the European Home. And how is such praxis mediated onto the global scale? The empirical data is based on interviews that were conducted in the course of six month. A total of twenty-six face-to-face interviews in 20 different EU countries and three Skype interviews were conducted, amounting to 34 hours of recordings. The interviewees were all found within the Couchsurfing social network website. Traditionally, Cosmopolitanism theorizes the specific type of relationship one has with the world. The structure of that relationship generates an allegiance to the “worldwide community of human beings.” (Nussbaum & Cohen 1996, p.162). This worldwide community has come into question. Bruno Latour argues that the one cosmos, which the worldwide community relates to is lost (2004). Hence he suggests “a common world, if there is going to be one, is something we will have to build, tooth and nail, together.” (Latour 2004, p.455) The research is positioned in relation to two shifts in Cosmopolitical Theory. First, a shift away from the questions ‘what is cosmopolitanism?’ and ‘who are the cosmopolitans?’ toward a concern for the forms of lived cosmopolitanism. Especially questions that interrogate how cosmopolitanism is “experienced by different groups and individuals in the micro-scale of everyday life interactions in concrete times and places.” (Rovisco & Nowicka 2011, p.446) The everyday and the ordinary are also prominent in the second shift that concentrates on the “considerations of cosmopolitanism as moral politics that is articulated in ordinary ways of thinking and acting of those agents that are active at the grassroots level in a range of transnational informal networks”.