Between Euro-centrism and Euro-denial: Reassessing the case for

a cosmopolitan political Theory 


Hassan Bashir


Since its introduction, in the late 1990s, Cosmopolitan or Comparative political theory (CPT) has seen phenomenal growth, as a subfield of political theory, in North American Universities. Comparative theorists suggest that political theory may have originated as an academic discipline in the west but it should not be considered coterminous with it. This paper critically evaluates various methodological prescriptions put forward by comparative theorists and argues that comparativists do not satisfy their own rationale to start a new subfield in the shape of CPT. In particular, it focuses on comparativists’ overwhelming tendency to rely on Gadamerian philosophical hermeneutics and the construction of imaginary east-west dialogues, to achieve a fusion of horizons, as the preferred method to integrate non-western systems of ideas into mainstream western theorizing. As an alternate to this methodological orientation the paper suggests that CPT’s objective, of finding a middle ground between Eurocentrism and Eurodenial, has the potential of introducing the likes of a Khunian paradigm shift within the academic discipline of political theory in the west. However, this is only possible if comparativists expand the scope of CPT to periods earlier than late modernity and detach it from the from the demands of the current wave of globalization. The paper ends by identifying avenues for future research.


Hassan Bashir received his Ph.D. in political Science from Texas A&M University in 2008. His primary research interests are in political theory and International Relations. His recent work focuses on comparative political thought, politics of religion in a comparative perspective and the role of non-state actors in International Relations. Dr. Bashir is a Fulbright fellow and has also thrice received the H.B. Earhart fellowship from the Earhart Foundation. Dr. Bashir is currently a visiting assistant professor of political science at the Liberal Arts program in Texas A&M University at Qatar.

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