toward an emancipatory cosmopolitan project: the world social forum and the transformation of conflicts

a version of this article appeared on globalisation 9-2 pp. 211-224

toward an emancipatory cosmopolitan project


can the world social forum (wsf) contribute to build the conditions for convivial existence on our planet? can it inspire global emancipation? to answer these questions, i discuss a case of conflict negotiation between some organisers of the wsf in mumbai (2004) and a member of the indian muslim community. the case illustrates how managerial approaches to conflict and hegemonic politics at odds with the vision of the wsf have considerably limited the possibility for the wsf organisers to engage with indian muslims. i suggest that in order to inspire a truly emancipatory cosmopolitan project, transnational activist networks like the world social forum might consider practices of conflict and difference transformation centred on recognition and empowerment aimed generating emancipatory dynamics among, and at developing and extolling the autonomy of, all parties involved (individual and collective). such practices could contribute to develop a cosmopolitan vision beyond a priori universal values, often colonial and ethnocentric.


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