Friday, October 24, 2014

Roele: The Vicious Circles of Habermas’ Cosmopolitics

Isobel Roele (Queen Mary Univ. of London – Law) has published The Vicious Circles of Habermas’ Cosmopolitics (Law & Critique, Vol. 25, no. 3, 199-229, 2014). Here’s the abstract:
Habermas’ cosmopolitan project posits that global politics can be transformed into an emancipatory activity in order to compensate for the disempowering effects of globalization. This article reveals the impossibility of achieving this transformation while remaining faithful to his commitment to post-metaphysics and intersubjectivity. To do this, the article identifies three vicious circles in the stages of Habermas’ argument which can only be converted into virtuous circles by transforming a mutually inhibiting relationship into a mutually constitutive one. At the domestic level, the transformative element is the social practice of individual citizens. This being absent at the global level, Habermas is left with two options to act as catalysts for transformation: The imposition of human rights down the barrel of a gun and the pre-discursive concept of human dignity. Relying on these to effect transformation, Habermas produces not a virtuous circle of emancipatory politics but a vicious one of moralized politics.