Cosmopolitan Narratives: Documentary Perspectives on Afghanistan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


  • Falmouth.IB

    Accepted author manuscript, 8.17 MB, application/octet-stream

Cosmopolitan Narratives: Documentary Perspectives on Afghanistan

Cosmopolitanism is a concept discussed in relation to globalization in contemporary societies by sociologists, anthropologists and media scholars (Beck 2006, Delanty 2006, Appadurai 1996). The concept indicates the dialectic between universal dimensions of human life and cultural differences in a more and more mediatized global media culture. How do individuals and groups imagine each other in this new, global media culture, in what Appadurai (1996) has called a new post-national political world with an emerging diasporic public sphere? Belonging to a nation, a culture is of course still a very central thing. We still experience the world from where we are, we view others through a lens of imaginary (Anderson 1983) and real belonging somewhere. The distant ’other’ can still for many be rather distant, and certainly more distant than those close others in our everyday life. But the media play an increasingly strong and important role in developing a cosmopolitan imaginary through narratives that bring us closer to the various distant, global others. Through migration those earlier distant others are also more and more mixed in our daily lives and more cosmopolitan and multicultural societies (Bondebjerg 2014). News play a role here, but more important are documentary film and television, because such narratives of reality can unfold global aspects of everyday life and social realities in a much stronger way. In this paper I develop the concept of global narratives in documentary in a sociological and cultural theoretical sense. Following that I look at how life in Afghanistan has been described both by documentary filmmakers with a European background (for instance Havana Markings Afghan Star and Phil Grabsky in The Boy Mir) and filmmakers with a background in Afghanistan (for instance Nagieb Khaja My Afghanistan).
Original languageEnglish
Publication date6 Sep 2014
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2014
EventWorld Documentary - University of Falmouth, Falmouth, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Sep 20146 Sep 2014


ConferenceWorld Documentary
LocationUniversity of Falmouth
CountryUnited Kingdom

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and

No data available

ID: 123985075