Conceptualizing otherness: An exploration of the cosmopolitan schema

Calcutt, L, Woodward, I and Skrbis, Z (2009) Conceptualizing otherness: An exploration of the cosmopolitan schema. Journal of Sociology, 45 2: 169-186. doi:10.1177/1440783309103344

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Author Calcutt, L
Woodward, I
Skrbis, Z
Title Conceptualizing otherness: An exploration of the cosmopolitan schema
Journal name Journal of Sociology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1440-7833
Publication date 2009-06
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/1440783309103344
Volume 45
Issue 2
Start page 169
End page 186
Total pages 18
Place of publication London, U.K.
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The Australian cosmopolitan is an important symbolic figure in popular discourse and the political landscape. Regardless of the actual scope and scale of `cosmopolitanness' in Australia, the spectre of cosmopolitanism, and its close relatives such as tolerance of diversity or openness to difference, is a powerful figure in contemporary culture. The cosmopolitan willingness to accommodate otherness is perceived as a betrayal of Australian culture, yet continuing high levels of immigration from diverse sources demand cosmopolitan tolerance. Sociologists know that cosmopolitan people can accommodate diversity, but how this is achieved is the subject of much theoretical debate. It is reasonable to assume that cosmopolitans conceptualize otherness in ways that reduce or eliminate a sense of threat, but how can we reliably access individual conceptualizations? Informed by a cultural sociology approach, this project utilized the concept of cognitive schemas from psychology, and formal semantics from linguistics, to access cosmopolitan conceptualizations. Analysis of focus group data concluded that cosmopolitan schemas are constructed using a repertoire of strategies which compartmentalize categories of otherness into manageable portions. It is argued that, from the cosmopolitan perspective, Australian cultural integrity remains the intact and dominant host of smaller, harmless or manageable cultural fragments.
© 2009 The Australian Sociological Association
Keyword Cosmopolitanism
National identity
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Social Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 16 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 22 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 25 Mar 2011, 12:01:25 EST by Zlatko Skrbis on behalf of University of Queensland Graduate School