World at the Border: The Cosmopolitan Ideal between Loss and Multiplication




cosmopolitanism, migration, politics, philosophy, Arendt, Rancière


The article examines the transformations of the philosophical concept of world as it appears in the cosmopolitan tradition of political thought and its relation to the problem of the border. It focuses particularly on how world is understood as either lost or multiplied in the contexts of modernity, globalisation, and migration. The article discusses postcolonial conceptions of cosmopolitics and the political philosophy of Hannah Arendt to show how the universal ideal of the world is replaced by singular constructions of worlds in terms of the experience of migrants and refugees or the phenomenological horizon of political action. I conclude by suggesting that Jacques Rancière’s understanding of politics as a conflict of worlds can take us beyond the traps of both cosmopolitan universalism and the phenomenological singularity of being-in-the-world.


Download data is not yet available.


Agier, Michel, Borderland: Towards an Anthropology of the Cosmopolitan Condition, trans. D. Fernbach, Cambridge, Polity, 2016.

Appiah, Kwame Anthony, The Ethics of Identity, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2005.

Arendt, Hannah, The Human Condition, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1958.

Arendt, Hannah, The Origins of Totalitarianism, San Diego, Harcourt Brace & Co., 1979.

Benčin, Rok (ed.), “The Concept of World in Contemporary Philosophy”, Filozofski vestnik, 42 (2/2021), special issue,

Benčin, Rok, “Worlds as Transcendental and Political Fictions”, Filozofski vestnik, 42 (2/2021), pp. 221–243. DOI: 10.3986/fv.42.2.10

Bhabha, Homi K., “Unsatisfied: Notes on Vernacular Cosmopolitanism”, in L. Garcia-Morena and P. C. Pfeifer (eds.), Text and Nation: Cross-Disciplinary Essays on Cultural and National Identities, London, Camden House, 1996, pp. 191–207.

Birnbaum, Antonia, Trajectoires obliques, Paris, Sens & Tonka, 2013.

De Sousa Santos, Bonaventura, “Beyond Neoliberal Governance: The World Social Forum as Subaltern Cosmopolitan Politics and Legality”, in B. De Sousa Santos and C. A. Rodríguez-Garavito (eds.), Law and Globalization from Below: Towards a Cosmopolitan Legality, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005, pp. 29–63.

Deranty, Jean-Philippe, and Emmanuel Renault, “Democratic Agon: Striving for Distinction or Struggle against Domination and Injustice?”, in A. Schaap (ed.), Law and Agonistic Politics, Farnham, Ashgate, 2009, pp. 43–56.

Harvey, David, Cosmopolitanism and the Geographies of Freedom, New York, Columbia University Press, 2009.

Heidegger, Martin, Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. G. Fried and R. Polt, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2014.

Kant, Immanuel, “Toward Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch”, in Toward Perpetual Peace and Other Writings on Politics, Peace, and History, trans. D. L. Colclasure, P. Kleingeld (ed.), New Haven, Yale University Press, 2006, pp. 67–109.

Mbembe, Achille, “Afropolitanism”, in B. Robbins and P. Lemos Horta (eds.), Cosmopolitanisms, New York, New York University Press, 2017, pp. 102–107.

Nancy, Jean-Luc, Being Singular Plural, trans. R. D. Richardson and A. E. O’Byrne, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2000.

Nancy, Jean-Luc, The Creation of the World or Globalization, trans. F. Rajfoul and D. Pettigrew, Albany, State University Of New York Press, 2007.

Pollock, Sheldon, Homi K. Bhabha, Carol A. Breckenridge, and Dipesh Chakrabarty, “Cosmopolitanisms”, in C. A. Breckenridge, S. Pollock, H. K. Bhabha, and D. Chakrabarty (eds.), Cosmopolitanism, Durham, Duke University Press, 2002, pp. 1–14.

Rancière, Jacques, “Who Is the Subject of the Rights of Man?”, in Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics, trans. and ed. S. Corcoran, London, Continuum, 2010, pp. 62–75.

Schaap, Andrew, “Enacting the Right to Have Rights: Jacques Rancière’s Critique of Hannah Arendt”, European Journal of Political Theory, 10 (1/2011), pp. 22–45. DOI: 10.1177/1474885110386004

Selasi, Taiye, “Bye-Bye Babar”, Callaloo, 36, (3/2013), pp. 528–530

Tassin, Étienne, Un monde commun: Pour une cosmo-politique des conflits, Paris, Seuil, 2003.

Tassin, Étienne, “Cosmopolitique et xénopolitique”, Raison présente, no. 201 (1/2017), pp. 99–107,

Végső, Roland, Worldlessness After Heidegger, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2020.




How to Cite

Benčin, R. (2023). World at the Border: The Cosmopolitan Ideal between Loss and Multiplication. Filozofski Vestnik, 43(3).