This chapter outlines the main themes of the book. It introduces the idea of cosmopolitanism as it is understood in everyday language and in the literature of philosophy and the social sciences. It maps normative thinking in international relations on the question ‘to whom is justice owed?’. Within this normative landscape, it homes in on the cosmopolitan–communitarian dichotomy and explains its relevance to the book's central preoccupation with Third World protest. This sets the stage for a prima facie exploration of questions linking debates in normative theory with the articulation of subaltern grievances: is cosmopolitanism elitist? To what extent is cosmopolitanism implicated in the conception and practice of empire and capitalism? Does subaltern protest tend to express itself in cosmopolitan or communitarian vocabularies? Finally the chapter defines, and defends the utility of, the ‘Third World’ as an analytical category.
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