Europe of complexity: another way of telling

Publication date:
Kevin Robins

This article explores issues relating to the new diversity and complexity within European culture, and seeks to do so with reference to contemporary debates on cosmopolitanism. A central argument is that the "mainstream" social science remains inadequate, in that it deals with the issues in an abstract and formulaic way – touching no-one. The article argues for a more concrete and substantive (and even poetic) approach to the cosmopolitan agenda, putting forward suggestions as to relevant alternative discourses –discourses that have been marginalised in and through the historical elaboration of what has become the hegemonic version of European culture and tradition. There is an exploration of such (seemingly obsolete, and maybe eccentric) terms as "wonder" and "metamorphosis", and of the communicative significance of metaphorical thinking. The point in addressing the contemporary European cultural dilemma, it is argued, is to develop an evocative, and thereby more effectively meaningful and communicative discourse of cosmopolitanism –another way of telling.

Key words: Europe, cultural complexity, cultural encounter, cosmopolitanism, mental space, enlargement of meaning