Benhabib on Democratic Iterations in a Global Order

Law and Ethics of Human Rights 2 (1):1-14 (2008)
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Seyla Benhabib’s article, “Twilight of Sovereignty or the Emergence of Cosmopolitan Norms” offers a penetrating analysis of the contemporary global order and suggests a normative approach by which to mend its structural failures—viewed from the democratic ideal of popular sovereignty and guided by what she calls “cosmopolitan norms.” The authors take issue with Benhabib's position on both the descriptive and the normative grounds, and make three critical points in this matter: the first two points concern Benhabib's descriptive portrayal of the global order. The third critical point concerns her normative position, i.e., her ideal of the good polity, displayed through her idea of “democratic iteration” operating through global civil society. The critical assessment of Benhabib's views ensues from the authors’ endorsement of the transformationalist position—the state, although somewhat undermined by global processes, still possesses considerable power and maintains a crucial role in determining the trajectory of these processes



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