Cosmopolitanism as a Form of Capital: Parents Preparing their Children for a Globalizing World

D. Weenink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

243 Citations (Scopus)


This article evaluates cosmopolitan theory by exploring how parents perceive cosmopolitanism. Interviews with parents whose children attend an internationalized form of education revealed that parents viewed cosmopolitanism as a form of cultural and social capital, rather than feelings of global connectedness or curiosity in the Other. Dedicated cosmopolitan parents were distinguished from pragmatic cosmopolitans.The former taught their children to explore the world and to take a global perspective on their course of life, while the latter thought that globalizing processes required cosmopolitan competencies. Analyses of survey data showed that parents' inclination to provide children with cosmopolitan capital was related to their own cosmopolitan capital and their level of ambitions, but not to their social class position. The article concludes that cosmopolitanism should be viewed as an expression of agency, which is acted out when people are forced to deal with processes of globalization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1106
JournalSociology : the Journal of the British Sociological Association
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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