Processes of globalisation should not only be interpreted as the demise of the borders of nation states, but also as the erosion of the distinctions between public and private, external and internal, that used to be the typical trait of modern political thought and action. In such a condition, a cosmopolitical stance that aims at the creation of a supranational public arena sounds Utopian. Even calls for human rights, understood as moral rights, risk pouring oil on the fires of conflict, rather than containing them. And yet the realistic position is equally unsatisfactory, because it is ultimately bound to categories whose underlying thinking is still based on the state. Social theory must therefore proceed to an overall revision of the traditional opposition between cosmopolitism and realism.