chapter  2
21 Pages

The now time(s) of the global city:displacing Hegel’s geopolitical narrative

G. W. F. Hegel’s geophilosophy never effectively alighted at the level of city life. Certainly he was impressed with the cosmopolitanism of some of Europe’s major urban venues – Amsterdam, Brussels, Vienna and Paris, among others. But he screened his perceptions of those cities through his universalizing aesthetic and philosophical perspectives. For example, when he went to Vienna, he was excited by Italian operas, especially Rossini’s, whose music, he noted, is made for the voice.101 And he wrote to his wife about his enjoyment of a lunch with both a Viennese and a visiting Italian scholar: We scholars are immediately at home with one another in a manner quite otherwise than with bankers for example. Terry Pinkard captures the proleptic aspect of Hegel’s observation:

This was exactly as Hegel would have expected; the scholars of the modern world formed a large part of the universal estate, the movers and doers whose allegiance was not purely local and particular but general, an allegiance to the rational structures of modern life as they were concretely institutionalized in their own particular lands.102