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Citizen of nowhere? Cosmopolitanism, liberalism and local affiliation in Oliver Goldsmith

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-01-03, 14:59 authored by Michael GriffinMichael Griffin

In the wake of the era of Trump and Brexit, legacies and values of European Enlightenment seem under threat as never before. Cosmopolitanism in particular, generally understood as an Enlightenment virtue, has come to be associated with a sort of rootlessness, and has not, as generally understood, valued local affiliation. For David Goodhart, writing in 2017, this characteristic has resulted in a polarisation between “anywheres” (liberal middle-class cosmopolitans) and “somewheres” (broadly speaking, conservative working-class voters who have strong attachments to their nation and places of origin). An Irish Tory monarchist who sought in his poem The Deserted Village (1770) to defend rural communities from the ravages of economic modernity, Oliver Goldsmith (1728-74) was also in other key works a cosmopolitan commentator who compared countries in order to warn Britain against the dangers of economic liberalism, as he did in The Traveller, or a Prospect of Society (1764). Thus, he could be thought of as a more conservative cosmopolitan than many of his British and French peers; as such his particular enlightenment legacy is his example of a middle ground between the “anywheres” and “somewheres” of Goodhart’s thesis.



Estudios Irlandeses, Special Issue, 2023, 18 (2), pp. 71-82.


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