Research amongst immigrant groups in Johannesburg points to the emergence of distinctive ways of negotiating inclusion and belonging that transcend ethnic, national or transnational paradigms. Confronted with new South African nationalism, a restrictive immigration regime and xenophobia, immigrants have reacted with what we term ‘tactical cosmopolitanism’ to negotiate partial inclusion in South Africa’s transforming society without becoming bounded by it. Rather than a coherent philosophy, it is a mishmash of rhetorical and organisational tools drawing on a diversity of more established discourses and value systems. In so doing, they capitalise on cosmopolitanism’s power without being bound by its responsibilities. This paper contributes to the emerging literature on cosmopolitanism ‘from below’, conceptualised not as a philosophy but as a practice and form of experiential culture.
Author: Jean Pierre Misago