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A Single Culture

Questioning cultural exclusivity, sisters Ellen and Julia Lupton cite philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, who proposes the idea of a new “cosmopolitanism”, an actual “world citizenship”:

The world […] is made up of individuals, not of cultures. Individuals belong to a shared humanity and a global civilization as well as to a local community. A cosmopolitan place such as New York or Paris or Kumasi draws its energy from a mix of persons, inextricably connected with a larger world, who have the right to participate in a world discourse.

(Ellen and Julia Lupton, Univers Strikes Back, 2007)

With shared protocols, one can communicate in any language in the world, send a photo, or watch the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Rio de Janeiro or Singapour, sitting in an IKEA chair and drinking coffee out of a local restaurant or eating poutine at McDonald’s.

There is only one global culture (with endless boundaries); why waste time drawing the lines of cosmopolitism?