This special section in Current Sociology features Ulrich Beck's article 'Emancipatory catastrophism: What does it mean to climate change and risk society' and a discussion of it by six authors.
Mitigating human-induced climate change calls for a globalized change of consciousness and practice. It also demand a double transformation of the social sciences – first, from ‘methodological nationalism’ to ‘methodological cosmopolitanism’ and, second, an empirical reorientation towards ‘cosmopolitization’ as the social force of emerging cosmopolitan realities.
The concept of the national is often perceived as the central obstacle for the realization of cosmopolitan orientations. Consequently, debates about the nation tend to revolve around its persistence or its demise. This article departs from this either-or perspective by investigating the formation of the ‘cosmopolitan nation’ as a facet of world risk society.
This paper engages key social theories of transnational mobilities in order to forge the concept of urban ‘green’ cosmopolitization, posited as a social scientific contribution to epochal conversations on climate change. Bringing Ulrich Beck’s notion of ‘cosmopolitization’ to bear on recent work around ‘urban policy mobilities’, professional planning practices in large-scale world cities as privileged sites for contemporary imaginings and material implementations of low-carbon sociotechnical change are analysed.