One unique part of Rousseau's Social Contract is his argument that a just society must have a specific constitutional arrangement of powers centred around what he calls the Sovereign and the Prince. This makes his philosophy different from other contractualists, such as Hobbes and Locke, who think that the principles of good government are compatible with any number of institutional structures. Rousseau's constitutional theory is thus significant in a way that has no parallel in Hobbes or Locke. More to the (...) point, any problems that exist in his constitutional theory will have consequences for his political thought as a whole. This article argues that there is a contradiction at the center of Rousseau's theory of institutions that threatens the cogency of the Social Contract. Key Words: Rousseau separation of powers social contract sovereignty. (shrink)
This article explores the tensions between cosmopolitanism and sovereignty as a means to conceptualize the ethics of European foreign policy. It starts by discussing the claim that, in order for the EU to play a meaningful role as an international actor, a definition of the common ethical values orienting its political conduct is required. The question of a European federation of states and its ethical conceptualization emerges clearly in some of the philosophical writings of the 17th and 18th centuries. (...) I seek to provide an outline of the main arguments presented by authors such as Saint Pierre, Rousseau and Kant regarding the implications of the emerging difference between cosmopolitanism and the law of nations in the ethics of international relations. The article focuses on the normative significance of the concept of sovereignty as it emerges in modern political philosophy and highlights its tensions with the ideas of moral and political cosmopolitanism. This exploration serves a double function: theoretical and practical. From the theoretical perspective it leads to a better understanding of the tensions involved in conceptualizing a common ethical orientation for the states of Europe. From the practical standpoint it sheds light on some persistent difficulties the European Union faces in trying to move beyond an intergovernmental political arrangement in the field of foreign policy. (shrink)
This paper interprets the relation between sovereignty and guilt in Nietzsche's Genealogy. I argue that, contrary to received opinion, Nietzsche was not opposed to the moral concept of guilt. I analyse Nietzsche's account of the emergence of the guilty conscience out of a pre-moral bad conscience. Drawing attention to Nietzsche's references to many different forms of conscience and analogizing to his account of punishment, I propose that we distinguish between the enduring and the fluid elements of a ‘conscience’, defining (...) the enduring element as the practice of forming self-conceptions. I show that for Nietzsche, the moralization of the bad conscience results from mixing it with the material concepts of guilt and duty, a process effected by prehistoric religious institutions by way of the concept of god. This moralization furnishes a new conception of oneself as a responsible agent and holds the promise of sovereignty by giving us a freedom unknown to other creatures, but at the price of our becoming subject to moral guilt. According to Nietzsche, however, the very forces that made it possible have spoiled this promise and, under the pressures of the ascetic ideal, a harmful notion of responsibility understood in terms of sin now dominates our lives. Thus, to fully realize our sovereignty, we must liberate ourselves from this sinful conscience. (shrink)
Futility is not a purely medical concept. Its subjective nature requires a balanced procedural approach where competing views can be aired and in which disputes can be resolved with procedural fairness. Law should play an important role in this process. Pure medical models of futility are based on a false claim of medical sovereignty. Procedural approaches avoid the problems of such claims. This paper examines the arguments for and against the adoption of a procedural approach to futility determination.
Giorgio Agamben has come to be recognized in recent years as one of the most provocative and imaginative thinkers in contemporary philosophy and political theory. The essays gathered together in this volume shed light on his extensive body of writings and assess the significance of his work for debates across a wide range of fields, including philosophy, political theory, Jewish studies, and animal studies. The authors discuss material extending across the entire range of Agamben's writings, including such early works as (...) Language and Death and more recent and widely acknowledged works such as Homo Sacer . Readers will find useful discussions of key concepts and theories in Agamben's work, such as sovereignty and bare life, along with more critical analyses of the political stakes and consequences of his theoretical and political interventions. (shrink)
In Sovereignty’s Promise: The State as Fiduciary, Evan Fox-Decent uses the idea of fiduciary relationships to explain the legitimate exercise of governmental authority. He makes use of the idea of the state as a fiduciary for the people to ground an account of the duty to obey the law, to explain the proper relationships between colonial (or “settler”) societies and aboriginal populations, the role of agency discretion and judicial review in the administrative state, the rule of law, the relationship (...) between law and morality, and the foundations of human rights. While I was not convinced by several of the arguments, the book does have many important virtues. In particular, it provides a clear discussion of the idea of fiduciary relationships and duties that is useful for, and should be largely accessible to, non-lawyers. And, though I do not think that Fox-Decent has established all that he hoped to in the book, he does a good job of showing how fiduciary relationships are relevant to the above issues and worth considering. (shrink)
The debate on the nature of the European Union has become a test case of the kind of political and institutional arrangements appropriate in an age of globalization. This paper explores three views of the EU. The two main positions that have hitherto confronted each other appeal to either cosmopolitan or communitarian values. Advocates of the former argue for some form of federal structure in Europe and are convinced that the sovereignty of the nation state belongs to the past. (...) Proponents of the latter make a case on both socio-political and normative grounds for a Europe of nations. However a third position, favoured by the authors, is gaining ground. This view combines cosmopolitan and communitarian conceptions. It emphasises the mixed nature of the European polity and conceives the constitutionalization process as open-ended. The paper concludes that from this perspective a bricoleur's Europe of ‘bits and pieces’may not necessarily lack justification and legitimacy. (shrink)
. In our opinion, the processes of changing of sovereignty nowadays are among those of much significance. Presumably, if such processes (of course with much fluctuation) gain strength it will surely affect all spheres of life, including change of ideology and social psychology (the moment which is still underestimated by many analysts). Generally speaking, notwithstanding an avalanche of works devoted to the transformation of sovereignty, some topical aspects of the problem mentioned appear to have been disregarded. The present (...) article is devoted to the analysis of one of such insufficiently investigated aspects – the deliberate voluntary reduction of sovereign prerogatives. In the present paper we have tried to prove that on the whole globalization contributes to the change and reduction of nomenclature and scope of state sovereign powers, and besides it is a bilateral process: on the one hand, the factors are strengthening that fairly undermine the countries' sovereignty, on the other – most states voluntarily and deliberately limit the scope of their sovereignty. (shrink)
In this paper, attention will focus primarily on economic and financial aspects of the globalization debate, and on their implications for public policy. Nevertheless, these issues cannot be separated from their historical and political context. The current discussion of globalization can only be understood in relation to the development of economic and political institutions over the past century. Globalization is frequently discussed as a counterpoint to national sovereignty. It is commonly asserted that globalization has eroded national sovereignty or (...) that it has rendered borders obsolete. In particular, it is asserted that, in a globalised world economy, governments have no alternative but to adopt neoliberal economic policies of privatisation, deregulation and reductions in public expenditure. The analysis presented in this paper gives little support to the view of globalization as an exogenous force that has undermined domestic economic sovereignty. On the contrary, financial globalization is best interpreted as the international counterpart of domestic neoliberalism. Both in domestic and international policy, the swing to neoliberalism was a response to the actual and perceived failures of the post-1945 policy framework in which domestic Keynesianism and the welfare state were complemented internationally by the Bretton Woods system. The advocates of neoliberal reform have had only limited success in implementing their policy agenda, even in the English-speaking countries. The choice between continued neoliberal reform and a remodelled social democracy remains open. The direction chosen by democratic governments will ultimately depend on the relative success of competing economic and social models, rather than on an exogenous process of globalization. (shrink)
A picture of sovereignty holds the study of politics captive. Captives of Sovereignty looks at the historical origins of this picture of politics, critiques its philosophical assumptions and offers a way to move contemporary critiques of sovereignty beyond their current impasse. The first part of the book is diagnostic. Why, despite their best efforts to critique sovereignty, do political scientists who are dissatisfied with the concept continue to reproduce the logic of sovereignty in their thinking? (...) Havercroft draws on the writings of Hobbes and Spinoza to argue that theories of sovereignty are produced and reproduced in response to skepticism. The second part of the book draws on contemporary critiques of skeptical arguments by Wittgenstein and Cavell to argue that their alternative way of responding to skepticism avoids the need to invoke a sovereign as the final arbiter of all political disputes. (shrink)
Behind the global climate change debate are views of divine sovereignty. Those who believe that God is in charge of everything believe there is no change in the climate, but those who believe that God's sovereignty entails that we are responsible for working with the divine are willing to admit there is global climate change.
Is sovereignty in Hobbes the power of a person or of an office? This article defends the thesis that it is the latter. The interpretation is based on an analysis of Hobbes’s version of the social contract in Leviathan . Pace Quentin Skinner, it will be argued that the person whom Hobbes calls “sovereign” is not a person but the office of government.
There is an important moral difference between laws that criminalize drugs and prostitution and laws that make them illegal in other ways: criminalization violates our moral rights in a way that nonlegalization does not. Criminalization is defined as follows. Drugs are criminalized when there are criminal penalties for using or possessing small quantities of drugs. Prostitution is criminalized when there are criminal penalties for selling sex. Legalization is defined as follows. Drugs are legalized when there are no criminal penalties for (...) manufacturing, selling and possessing large quantities of drugs. Prostitution is legalized when there are no criminal penalties for owning or operating a brothel or escort service, no criminal penalties for working as a paid agent for sex work, and no criminal penalties for paying someone for sex who is above the age of legal employment and sexual consent. The criminalization of drugs and prostitution violate the right of self-sovereignty in depriving individuals of important forms of control over their own minds and bodies, but nonlegalization does not violate this right. It is therefore consistent, as a matter of principle, to advocate decriminalization but to oppose legalization. (shrink)
We pose the question: Is consumer sovereignty in the healthcare market fact or fiction? Consumer sovereignty in healthcare implies that society benefits at large when healthcare organizations compete to develop high quality healthcare products while reducing the cost of doing business (reflected in low prices), and when consumers choose wisely among healthcare products by purchasing those high quality products at low prices. We develop a theoretical model that encourages systematic empirical research to investigate whether consumer sovereignty in (...) healthcare is fact or fiction. In doing so, we develop a series of theoretical propositions that may demonstrate that consumer sovereignty is more fiction than fact. Specifically, healthcare consumers lack the ability, motivation, and opportunity to choose healthcare products that are high in quality and low in price. Similarly, healthcare firms lack the ability, motivation, and opportunity to compete in ways to develop and market higher quality products at lower prices. (shrink)
The form of life which has the desire for or will to control over emergence at its core is, if not the dominant, then at least one of the more significant ones in late modern culture. To be in control over emergence requires a considerable degree of sovereignty. In this contribution I have made an attempt to outline and contrast three rather basic images or models of what might be called radical sovereignty, i.e., the vital-reflexive-transgressive one (which is (...) referred to here as Nietzsche type 1), the existential-reflective-transcendent one (Nietzsche type 2), and the ambivalent-creative-transformative one (Nietzsche type 3). The analysis of paintings by post-war artists such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Paul Rebeyrolle is used to illustrate how the aforementioned types of radical sovereignty may have emerged, fully-fledged, in art, in the wake of the Second World War. (shrink)
Does the establishment of a permanent InternationalWar Crimes Tribunal (International Criminal Court - ICC) constitute a challenge to national sovereignty? According to previous US governments and several American observers, the answer is yes. Establishing a world court that acts independently of the states that gave birth to it renders the idea of sovereignty meaningless. This article analyzes the American objections to the ICC and the conception of sovereignty and international law underlying these objections. It first considers the (...) structure and intent behind the criminal court and attempts to unveil the logic hiding behind the idea of ‘America’s historical uniqueness.’ It touches on the diverging US and European conceptions of sovereignty and ends up arguing that governments that stick to traditional conceptions of sovereignty and international law in the employment of their foreign policy may lose the moral legitimacy that has proven increasingly important for winning the sympathy of allies and regaining world leadership. Keywords: The ICC; US opposition to the court; sovereignty; international law; exceptionalism (Published: 19 May 2009) Citation: Ethics & Global Politics, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2009, pp. 83-108. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v2i2.1973. (shrink)
This paper discusses sovereignty and examines in detail Hobbes’s debates with the two leading legal theorists of his day, Coke and Hale, both Lord Chief Justices of the King’s Bench. I argue that Hobbes came to change his mind somewhat about the desirability of divided sovereignty by the time, near the end of his life, that he wrote the Dialogue . But I also argue that Hobbes should have developed more than a very thin conception of the rule (...) of law. Hobbes should have been more open to the ideas that the jurists of his day were developing, especially the idea that the judiciary should have independent status. (shrink)
This article discusses indigenous rights within the context of global governance. I begin by defining the terms “global governance” and “indigenous peoples” and summarizing the rights that are most important to indigenous peoples. The bulk of this article studies the global governance of indigenous rights in three areas. The first example is the creation of the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A second example involves violations of indigenous rights brought before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. (...) A third case looks at a relatively new international regime created by indigenous peoples themselves—the Inuit Circumpolar Council. I conclude by using theories of sovereignty to assess the relative successes and failures of indigenous efforts to secure their rights. (shrink)
State sovereignty is often thought to be absolute, unlimited. This paper argues that there is no such a thing as absolute State sovereignty. Indeed, absolute sovereignty is impossible because all sovereignty is necessarily underpinned by its conditions of possibility—i.e. limited sovereignty is the norm, though the nature of the limitations varies. The article consists of two main sections: (a) the concept of sovereignty: this section is focused on some of the limitations the concept of (...)sovereignty itself presents; and (b) a historical account of the notion of sovereignty as it was used in the Ancient Times. The particular focus on early notions of a modern concept such as sovereignty has to do with the fact that this early notion has been anthropomorphised with societal evolution. Therein, the current concept of State sovereignty embraces the same limitations it had in its ancient form as a non-fully developed conceptual idea. The implications of understanding State sovereignty as limited rather than absolute are several, both directly and indirectly. A main immediate consequence is that sovereign States can cooperate together, limit their sovereignty and still be considered sovereign. (shrink)
Although the concept of food sovereignty is rooted in International Peasant Movements across the global south, activists have recently called for the adoption of this framework among low-income communities of color in the urban United States. This paper investigates on-the-ground processes through which food sovereignty articulates with the work of food justice and community food security activists in Oakland, California, and Seattle, Washington. In Oakland, we analyze a farmers market that seeks to connect black farmers to low-income consumers. (...) In Seattle, we attend to the experiences of displaced immigrant farmers from Latin America and their efforts to address their food needs following migration. In both cases, we find that US based projects were constrained by broader forces of neoliberalism that remained unrecognized by local activists. In Oakland, despite a desire to create a local food system led by marginalized African Americans, emphasis on providing green jobs in agriculture led activists to take a market-based approach that kept local food out of the economic grasp of food-insecure neighborhood residents. In Seattle, the marginalization of the immense agroecological knowledge of Latino/an immigrant farmers rendered local food projects less inclusive and capable of transformative change. Taken together, these very different cases suggest that a shift towards food sovereignty necessitates a broad acknowledgement of and resistance to neoliberalism. (shrink)
The emerging concept of food sovereignty refers to the right of communities, peoples, and states to independently determine their own food and agricultural policies. It raises the question of which type of food production, agriculture and rural development should be pursued to guarantee food security for the world population. Social movements and non-governmental organizations have readily integrated the concept into their terminology. The concept is also beginning to find its way into the debates and policies of UN organizations and (...) national governments in both developing and industrialized countries. Beyond its relation to civil society movements little academic attention has been paid to the concept of food sovereignty and its appropriateness for international development policies aimed at reducing hunger and poverty, especially in comparison to the human right to adequate food (RtAF). We analyze, on the basis of an extensive literature review, the concept of food sovereignty with regard to its ability to contribute to hunger and poverty reduction worldwide as well as the challenges attached to this concept. Then, we compare the concept of food sovereignty with the RtAF and discuss the appropriateness of both concepts for national public sector policy makers and international development policies. We conclude that the impact on global food security is likely to be much greater if the RtAF approach predominated public policies. While the concept of food sovereignty may be appropriate for civil society movements, we recommend that the RtAF should obtain highest priority in national and international agricultural, trade and development policies. (shrink)
The idea of food sovereignty has its roots primarily in the response of small producers in developing countries to decreasing levels of control over land, production practices, and food access. While the concerns of urban Chicagoans struggling with low food access may seem far from these issues, the authors believe that the ideas associated with food sovereignty will lead to the construction of solutions to what is often called the “food desert” issue that serve and empower communities in (...) ways that less democratic solutions do not. In Chicago and elsewhere, residents and activists often see and experience racial and economic inequalities through the variety of stores and other food access sites available in their community. The connections between food access, respect, and activism are first considered through a set of statements of Chicagoans living in food access poor areas. We will then discuss these connections through the work and philosophy of activists in Chicago centered in food sovereignty and food justice. Particular focus will be placed on Growing Power, an urban food production, distribution, and learning organization working primarily in Milwaukee and Chicago, and Healthy South Chicago, a community coalition focused on health issues in a working class area of the city. (shrink)
The transnational agrarian movement La Via Campesina (LVC) seeks to reestablish food sovereignty authority within national borders by removing agriculture from the WTO system. The WTO is a membership organization of participating nation-states that have agreed to abide by the rules of the WTO governance regime. Nominally, at least, changes in these governance rules must be approved by the nation-state members. This paper examines the extent to which South Korean affiliate organizations of LVC, the Korean Peasant League and the (...) Korean Women Peasants Association, have been successful in placing food sovereignty issues on the national agri-food policy agenda in South Korea that challenge the WTO’s neoliberal global governance regime for agriculture. In effect, the success of transnational movements like LVC in challenging global institutions may rest on how well their member affiliates are able to play domestic agri-food politics. (shrink)
In this essay, I take up the question of the time of medicine in relation to two events in the U.S. from 2005—the Terri Schiavo case and Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. I consider both cases as “mediatized medical events,” that is, as events in which the practices of medicine received considerable media attention at a particular historical moment; or, we might say, as events that brought a convergence between media and medical practices. I juxtapose these two events because, placed (...) side by side, they help make visible two stories of catastrophe, as well as the many difficulties of telling stories of catastrophe. Bringing together these seemingly divergent events allows me to draw connections that I hope will expand our bioethical imaginary beyond the reductive approaches that tend to dominate the practice of bioethics today. I also juxtapose them to signal a bioethical tension at the heart of the neoliberal state’s response to catastrophe in general, what Foucault might have diagnosed as the difference between making live and letting die. In these two events, we glimpsed—if only fleetingly—the state’s operation of making live and letting die, and medicine’s central role in that operation, as well as the re-assertion of medical sovereignty in crisis events. (shrink)
Originally created by the international peasant movement La Vía Campesina, the concept of “food sovereignty” is being used with increasing frequency by agrifood activists and others in the Global North. Using the analytical lens of framing, I explore the effects of this diffusion on the transformative potential of food sovereignty. US agrifood initiatives have recently been the subject of criticism for their lack of transformative potential, whether because they offer market-based solutions rather than demanding political ones or because (...) they fail to adequately address existing social injustice. In this paper, I consider how food sovereignty measures up to this critique both as it was originally framed by Vía Campesina and as it is being reframed for the US context. First I briefly compare food sovereignty to community food security (CFS), which was developed more explicitly for the North American context and has been criticized for its lack of transformative potential. I then explore how the potential of food sovereignty has been affected as it is reframed to resonate with US audiences through an examination of its use on the web sites of US-based organizations. I find that, while some reframing of the concept to highlight consumer choice does seem to be occurring, it remains a primarily political concept. It may not, however, be fulfilling its potential for addressing social injustice in the US agrifood system because it tends to be used either in reference to international issues or, when applied to the US context, treated as a rough synonym for local control. I conclude that, if advocates can successfully guide the reframing process, food sovereignty could serve as a valuable counter-hegemonic vision to complement the more pragmatic and locally-grounded work of CFS advocates. (shrink)
Whereas hundreds of social movements and NGOs all over the world have embraced the concept of food sovereignty, not many public authorities at the national and international level have adopted the food sovereignty paradigm as a normative basis for alternative agriculture and food policy. A common explanation of the limited role of food sovereignty in food and agriculture policy is that existing power structures are biased towards maintaining the corporatist food regime and neo-liberal thinking about food security. (...) This article sets out to provide an alternative explanation for this limited role by critically reflecting on the debate about food sovereignty itself. The main argument is that this debate is characterized by deadlock. Two mechanisms underlying the deadlock are analyzed: confusion about the concept of sovereignty and the failure of the epistemic community to debate how to reconcile conflicting values, discourses, and institutions regarding food. To overcome this deadlock and organize meaningful debate with public authorities, it is proposed that the food sovereignty movement uses insights from legal pluralism and debates on governance and adopts the ending of “food violence” as a new objective and common frame. (shrink)
The Power of Sovereignty attempts to understand the ideas and thoughts of Sayyid Qut whose corpus of work and, in particular, his theory of hakimiyyah (sovereignty) is viewed as a threat to nationalistic government and peace worldwide. This book provides a detailed perspective Sayyid Qutb's writings and examines: · The relation between the specifics of the concept of hakimiyyah and that of jahiliyyah · The force and intent of these two concepts · How Qutb employs their specifics to (...) critically assess the political establishments like nationalism and capitalism · The influence of the two concepts on Egypt's radical Islamic movements, where many of al'Qa'ida's lieutenants, officers, ideologues and conspirators were fomented This book provides timely and topical understanding of the intellectual origins and conceptual and methodological thinking of radical Islamist movement in the modern world. The Power of Sovereignty is essential reading for those with interests in political Islam and religious politics. (shrink)
Introduction: divine violence and political fetishism -- The political theology of sovereignty -- In the maw of sovereignty -- Benjamin's dissipated eschatology -- Waiting for justice -- Forgiveness, judgment and sovereign decision -- The Hebrew republic -- Conclusion : the anarchist hypothesis.
Dominant development discourse and policy are based on crucial misconceptions about peasants and their livelihoods. Peasants are viewed as inherently poor and hungry and their farming systems are considered inefficient, of low productivity, and sometimes even environmentally degrading. Consequently, dominant development policies have tried to transform peasants into something else: industrialised commercial farmers, wage labourers, urban workers, etc. This article seeks to deconstruct three key misconceptions about peasants by explaining how and why marginalised peasants around the world face poverty and (...) hunger. An explanation of the process of marginalisation of peasants through the influence of five “mediating factors” is put forward. It is contended that by addressing the mediating factors through policies devised with the active participation of peasants, the marginalisation of peasants would be reduced or eliminated. This would allow peasants to forge an adequate livelihood in rural areas based on their independent farming, and thereby contribute to the achievement of food sovereignty. (shrink)
Across Europe, national leaders and ordinary citizens alike face the problems and opportunities raised by increasing economic and political interdependence. Interdependence between nations creates new dilemmas in every sphere of activity. In The Netherlands: Negotiating Sovereignty in an Interdependent World, Thomas Rochon offers a comparative focus and a strong conceptualization of small-state issues applied to present the Netherlands experience.Although all countries face issues of sovereignty and adjustment to international forces, the Dutch have addressed these issues more explicitly and (...) over a longer span of time. How have the Dutch gone about the transformation from global power to small state? What lessons have they learned along the way that might be applied elsewhere in Europe, not to mention the United States? Rochon addresses these issues and provides background information on the people, culture, government, and economy of the country. In the final chapter, he summarizes the Dutch experience and explains that what unites the Netherlands with other industrial nations is how the country copes with change. (shrink)
As the world has increasingly embraced globalization, temptations to encroach on traditional boundaries of state sovereignty for reasons of self-interest mount. Argumentation studies provide an important lens for examining the public discourse used to justify such moves. This essay examines the Bush administration’s strategic use of the definitional processes of association and dissociation to build its public case for regime change in Afghanistan. After exploring how the Bush administration’s early rhetoric after 9/11 failed to actually provide the Taliban a (...) choice to remain in power, the essay reveals three combinations of the terrorism/state relationship that functioned as an argument by definition to gain support for the US campaign to overthrow the regime. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction; 1. Communal self-determination; 2. Costs and consequences; 3. Asymmetries in jus ad bellum; 4. Asymmetries in jus in bello; 5. Humanitarian intervention and national responsibility; 6. The issue of selectivity; 7. Proper authority and international authorisation; Conclusion.
Legal debates about humanitarian intervention—military intervention by one or more states to curb gross human rights violations occurring in another state—tend to assume that its legitimacy is irrelevant to its legality. Debates among philosophers and political theorists often assume the inverse, that the legality of humanitarian intervention is irrelevant to its legitimacy. This paper defends an alternative account, one that sees the legality and legitimacy of humanitarian intervention as intertwined. This account emerges from a conception of international law as a (...) legal domain that structures global politics by treating sovereignty as a legal entitlement that it distributes among the multitude of legal actors that it recognizes as states. Drawing on a long standing debate among domestic legal theorists about the rule of law, it first identifies formal constraints on the UN Security Council's discretion to authorize the use of force to end human rights violations. Developing a distributive conception of international human rights, it then identifies substantive considerations that shed further light on the legality of intervention. It suggests that members of the Security Council must give reasons when exercising their discretion to authorize the use of force and that some reasons might divest a member's vote of legal validity. (shrink)
States are believed to be the paradigmatic instances of legitimate political authority. But is their prominence justified? The classic concept of state sovereignty predicts the danger of a fatal deadlock among conflicting authorities unless there is an ultimate authority within a given jurisdiction. This scenario is misguided because the notion of an ultimate authority is conceptually unclear. The exercise of authority is multidimensional and multiattributive, and to understand the relations among authorities we need to analyse this complexity into its (...) different aspects. Instead of ultimate authorities we can have actors endowed with superior authority over others in one regard, but not necessarily in another. And this limited superiority is sufficient for resolving conflicts. There is no need for ultimate authorities. Having discarded the notion of sovereignty we can embrace a different conception of legitimate authority, one that is not interested in the pedigree of actors, but in their capacity to serve its subjects. If states wish to retain their central role in the domain of political authority, they will have to earn it. (shrink)
How is it possible that the idea of sovereignty still features in legal and political philosophy? Most contemporary political philosophers have little use for the idea of ‘unlimited’ or ‘absolute’ power, which is how sovereignty is normally defined. A closer look at sovereignty identifies two possible accounts: sovereignty as the fact of power or sovereignty as a title to govern. The first option, which was pursued by John Austin’s command theory of law, leads to an (...) unfamiliar view of law and the state, which was justly criticised by H. L. A. Hart. The second option, leads to a paradox, because under this view sovereignty is both limited and unlimited. Hence, this argument shows that law and sovereignty are actually incompatible. Where there is law there is no sovereignty, and where there is sovereignty there is no law. (shrink)
In this essay, Denike assesses the appropriation of international human rights by humanitarian law and policy of "security states." She maps representations of the perpetrators and victims of "tyranny" and "terror, " and their role in providing a "just cause" for the U.S.–led "war on terror. " By examining narratives of progress and human rights heroism Denike shows how human rights discourses, when used together with the pretense of self-defense and preemptive war, do the opposite of what they claim—entrenching the (...)sovereignty of Western imperialist states while eroding the conditions necessary for the recognition of the human rights of others. (shrink)
The notion of biopolitical sovereignty and the theory of the state of exception are perspectives derived from Carl Schmitt’s thought and Michel Foucault’s writings that have been popularized by critical political theorists like Giorgio Agamben and Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri of late. This article argues that these perspectives are not sufficient analytical points of departure for a critique of the contemporary politics of terror, violence and war marked by a growing global exploitation of bodies, tightened management of life, (...) and endless and unpredictable abusive force. To better capture the singularity of our present condition of violence, war and terror, a supplementation of Schmitt’s and Foucault’s approaches by way of Hannah Arendt’s language of political action and agonistic engagement is useful. By bringing Arendt’s language of political agony to bear on contemporary biopolitical debates and discourses, we wish to revisit common practices of war and terror as matters of ‘agonal sovereignty’. ‘Agonal sovereignty’ allows us to peer into the ‘abyss of total violence’ that manifests itself after sovereign decisionism and biopolitical modalities of power have taken over the everyday conduct of political affairs. (shrink)
Argues for an interpretation of Iris Murdoch on which her account of moral reasons has Platonic roots, and on which she gives an ontological proof of the reality of the Good. This reading explains the structure of Sovereignty, how Murdoch's claims differ from a focus on "thick moral concepts," and how to find coherent arguments in her book.
This paper analyzes "ticking time bomb" scenarios in the discursive legitimation of torture and other coercive interrogation techniques. Judith Butler proposes a Foucauldian framework to suggest that Adminstration policies can be read as the irruption of sovereignty within governmentality. Rereading Foucault, I suggest that the policies could equally be understood as an exercise of governmentality, i.e., the subordination of juridical law to economy. I then propose as a reconciliation of these readings that time bomb scenarios serve rhetorically to make (...) the exercise of arbitrary power Butler identifies appear as an exercise of governmentality; sanitized of complications, coercive interrogation appears efficient. (shrink)
The question of the place of what are called “animals” does not seem, at first, obviously to capture the deepest or most important imperative of a deconstructive politics devoted to challenging the constitutive structures of war, mastery, violence and sovereignty in the ‘contemporary scene’ of ‘globalization,’ or what Derrida often described as the ever more problematic and contested “mondialisation” or ‘becoming world’ of the world. And yet, as Derrida said in 1967 with respect to the “question of language” (which (...) is, as I shall argue, at bottom the same question) the question of the life of the simply living (what a longstanding tradition, still operative at the very foundation of contemporary politics, understands as that of the animal) has certainly never been simply one question among others. Indeed, as we shall see, the vanishing trace of an undeterminable “animal” life runs across Derrida’s own text from beginning to end, as it does, in a way that is at once silent, massive, and decisive, across the onto-theologically structured reality of contemporary “global” politics that this text attempts ceaselessly to decipher. This trace or track of a non-human life that crosses this global scene and unsettles its most profoundly orienting axioms cannot in fact be determined as that of “animals,” “an animal” or of “the animal” in general – for as Derrida has ceaselessly reminded us, there is not and has never been any such thing; the first and most essential imperative of a deconstructive reading committed to discerning difference and non-identity is to protest the universalizing gesture of the term or syntagm that, ignoring all of the vast differences of type, function, and characteristic, simply groups and indifferently unites all that is living and not human or plant under a single common term. Yet the deconstructive reading that tracks the trace of a non-human life across the discourses and practices of contemporary politics is nevertheless, as I shall argue, such as to call into question the political, social, theological and metaphysical privilege of the human, everywhere this privilege underlies and supports the axiomatics of what it is to speak or answer, what it is to ask or question, what it can mean to take up the life, community, or identity, of what can perhaps no longer, traversing it, be determined as that of the being that speaks.. (shrink)
Taking as its point of departure Edmund Husserl's 1935-36 text The Crisis of European Sciences, this essay attempts to develop a new conception of reason by means of a thoroughgoing critique of some ideas often used to support and define it. Because the notion of "enlightenment" has been tied since the time of Kant to a certain coming of age of reason or rationality, the "enlightenment" to come must at once draw upon the resources of this reason and open reason (...) to some of the aporias it has traditionally rejected. Reducible neither to a simple irrationalism nor to a mere mode of calculative thought, such reason must ultimately challenge, it is argued, not only the sovereignty and identity of the (human) subject but the very concepts of sovereignty and identity. Only such a renewed thinking of reason or of what is reasonable, the essay suggests, can help us diagnose, analyze, and help treat some of the aporias posed by a whole host of contemporary issues, from cloning to the erosion of the nation-state to globalization and terrorism. Only in this way can we at once "save the honor of reason" - to use a phrase that runs throughout the essay - and help reorient the reason of politics, of the sciences, and, indeed, of philosophy along the lines of a more fundamental and urgent ethical imperative. (shrink)