Centre of Migration Research

CMR UW Seminars: The reach and limits of cosmopolitan liberal citizenship


Please join us for a seminar on May 16, with professor Yasemin Soysal (WZB, Berlin Social Science Center and SCRIPTS Excellence Cluster) “The reach and limits of cosmopolitan liberal citizenship”.


Yasemin Soysal is research professor of the Global Sociology research program at the WZB and leading research member of the SCRIPTS Cluster of Excellence. Her research brings global and sociological–institutional perspectives into the investigation of the historical development and current reconfigurations of nation-state and citizenship. She is currently engaged in the theoretical and empirical investigation of the rise of the transnationally standardized script of agentic, meritocratic citizenship and its comparative scope, implementation, and contradictions.

The post-war liberal world order, and its neoliberal transformations since the 1990s, supported a citizenship model that envisions agentic, right-bearing and globally oriented cosmopolitan individuals.  This model unfolded and became standardized through a number of interacting dynamics including national and transnational courts (e.g. the European Court of Justice), instruments of international organizations (e.g. the International Conventions on Human Rights, the UN’s Human Development Index), and the expansion of education worldwide and a network of expertise around it.  Drawing on a joint book project (with Hector Cebolla Boado) and using a multi-sided, representative survey of internationally mobile and non-mobile Chinese higher education students (with control groups of European students), we analyze the reach and limits of this citizenship model. In the broader migration literature, international mobility and globalization are linked in two specific ways: (i) the experience of mobility is highly transformative and engenders individuals with broad agentic qualities (defined as transnational human capital) and open, tolerant, solidaristic affinities beyond “own kind” (defined as cosmopolitanism); (ii) those who are internationally mobile are a positively selected group on human and cultural capital and thus are already more agentic and inclined to cosmopolitanism than those who are sedentary. Our findings question both these propositions and give support to an alternative explanation that emphasizes the increasingly standardized and transnational nature of higher education, on the one hand, and the timing and context of China’s entry into the global world, on the other.


Date: 16 May 2022 (Monday), 3 PM (CEST time)

Venue: Banacha Str. 2c, Aula 01.130, the building of the Centre for New Technologies University of Warsaw

Link to register: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScA-pAvuI3KDuiL_DNPEjNq4vAHqYRk43Npau2XlE54OLaamA/viewform

Live-streaming of event: link will be send after registration

Language: English