Cosmopolitan Sexualities is published by Polity Press, June 2015

Cosmopolitan Sexualities is published by Polity Press, June 2015


How are we to live with the wide varieties of sexuality and gender found across the rapidly changing global order?

While some countries have legislated in favour of same-sex marriage and the United Nations makes declarations about gender and sexual equality, many countries across the world employ punitive responses to such differences. In this compelling and original study, Ken Plummer argues the need for a practical utopian project of hope that he calls ‘cosmopolitan sexualities’. He asks: how can we connect our differences with collective values, our uniqueness with multiple group belonging, our sexual and gendered individualities with a broader common humanity? Showing how a foundation for this new ethics, politics and imagination are evolving across the world, he discusses the many possible pitfalls being encountered. He highlights the complexity of sexual and gender cultures, the ubiquity of human conflict, the difficulties of dialogue and the problems with finding any common ground for our humanity.

Cosmopolitan Sexualities takes a bold critical humanist view and argues the need for positive norms to guide us into the future. Highlighting the vulnerability of the human being, Plummer goes in search of historically grounded and potentially global human values like empathy and sympathy, care and kindness, dignity and rights, human flourishing and social justice. These harbour visions of what is acceptable and unacceptable in the sexual and intimate life. Clearly written, the book speaks to important issues of our time and will interest all those of us who are struggling to find ways to live together well in spite of our different genders and sexualities.

On these web site pages you can find short extracts on some issues:

So what is Critical Humanism?

What’s the book about? See the contents pages of the book

What is Cosmopolitanism?

What is Cosmopolitan Sexualities?

What are humanist values?

What  is a humanist sexual ethics?

What are ‘multiple, plural sexualities’? See a list of 100 examples...

Short Time Line

And you can find some resources by clicking on the below

The references in the book cover many pages. If you want some guides to ‘going further'( these pages are under construction in March 2015):


Select Guide to Reading for ‘Cosmopolitan Sexualities’

Select Reading and Web Sites on Critical Humanism

Building a Global Sexualities Bibliography 

Web resources by themes and topics (under development)

Web resources: Organisations and Networks: A guide to web site resources

Lecture on Cosmopolitan Sexualities, Amsterdam 2014

Values and Cosmopolitan Sexualities

For further resources you could also look at:

On Critical Humanism see The Humanist Manifesto

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