Dawn of the Cosmopolitan: The Hope of a Global Citizens Movement

GTI Paper Series

31 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2007

Date Written: September 2006


At the most comprehensive level of analysis, the world is perhaps best understood as a complex system in which nature, technology, and humanity all influence, and are influenced by, each other. Although difficult to disentangle from other aspects of the global system, human agency - the capacity of people to reflect, make choices, and act collectively to realize those choices - plays a critical role in shaping the course of events.

A future characterized by a sharply discontinuous, positive, systemic transformation is impossible to imagine without a profound shift in values among an aware and engaged citizenry. Transnational corporations, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are powerful actors, but all of these could be deeply influenced by a coherent, worldwide association of millions of people who call for priority to be placed on new vales of quality of life, human solidarity, and environmental sustainability. We will refer to this potential of a values-led mobilization as a Global Citizens Movement (GCM). It is important to note that the GCM is a socio-political process rather than a political organization or party structure.

This paper starts by describing global civil society and examining the potential for a GCM, looking at relevant lessons from past and current social movements. As it distinguishes existing social movement activity from a robust and authentic GCM, this paper concludes that while the emergence of a GCM may not be probable, it is possible given the historically unique factors pushing us into a global age. In the last section, Contours of a Global Citizens Movement, we intend to indicate some of the necessary missing ingredients for the emergence of a GCM and point to future avenues for exploration.

Keywords: social movement, global citizen, mobilization, globalization, dialogue, global system, human agency, future scenarios, global future, sustainability, solidarity, civil society, world social forum, grassroots movements, gramsci

JEL Classification: F01, F02, N40, N50

Suggested Citation

Kriegman, Orion, Dawn of the Cosmopolitan: The Hope of a Global Citizens Movement (September 2006). GTI Paper Series, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=956184 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.956184

Orion Kriegman (Contact Author)

Tellus Institute ( email )

11 Arlington Street
Boston, MA 02116-3411
United States

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