The ‘Cosmopolitan Low Carbon Innovation Networks’-Work Package is investigating the cosmopolitized networks underlying contemporary projects aiming at the socio-technical transition to ‘low-carbon’ (or ‘sustainable’ or ‘resilient’) societies. Empirically it is focused on the case study of innovation in forms of urban mobility, particularly regarding forms of electric automobility, and in China – the paradigm case of massive, rapid urbanization and ‘mobilization’ with profound global consequences, both ecologically and socially. Focusing on three major Chinese mega-cities (Shenzhen, Shanghai, Tianjin), each of which has important but different characteristics regarding low-carbon innovation, the project will pay particular attention to two key themes regarding a methodologically cosmopolitan analysis of this process, both as conceptual/theoretical developments and actual, emerging social forces. These are the re-emergence and qualitative transformation of ‘class’ in world risk society and its constitutive and profound intra­­-national social inequalities, with socio-technical innovation as a key medium for this process; and the formation and shaping of a powerful new discourse of ‘responsible innovation’. In both cases, this gives specific substantive and theoretical focus to the research while tackling (and introducing) issues of contemporary and specifically ‘cosmopolitized’ social theory.

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Methodological Cosmopolitanism

In the Laboratory of Climate Change

Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität München Institute für Soziologie European Research Council