The ideas of Hans Morgenthau dominated the study of international politics in the United States for many decades. He was the leading representative of Realist international relations theory in the last century and his work remains hugely influential in the field. In this engaging and accessible new study of his work, William E. Scheuerman provides a comprehensive and illuminating introduction to Morgenthau’s ideas, and assesses their significance for political theory and international politics. Scheuerman shows Morgenthau to be (...) an uneasy Realist, uncomfortable with conventional notions of Realism and sometimes unsure whether his reflections should be grouped under its rubric. He was a powerful critic of the existing state system and defended the idea of a world state. By highlighting Morgenthau’s engagement with the leading lights of European political and legal theory, Scheuerman argues that he developed a morally demanding political ethics and an astute diagnosis of the unprecedented perils posed by nuclear weaponry. Believing that the irrationalities of US foreign policy were rooted partly in domestic factors, he sympathized with demands for radical political and social change. Scheuerman illustrates that Morgenthau’s thinking has been widely misunderstood by both disciples and critics and that it offers many challenges to contemporary Realists who discount his normative aspirations. With the advent of the cosmopolitan goal of international reform, Morgenthau’s work serves up an unsettling mix of sympathy and hard-headed skepticism which remains crucially important in the development of the field. Lucidly and persuasively written, this book will be a valuable resource for students and scholars seeking to understand the continued importance of Morgenthau’s thinking. (shrink)
Does a hard-headed realist approach to international politics necessarily involve scepticism towards progressive foreign policy initiatives and global reform? Should proponents of realism always be seen as morally complacent and politically combative? In this major reconsideration of the main figures of international political theory, Bill Scheuerman challenges conventional wisdom to reveal a neglected tradition of progressive realism with much to contribute to contemporary debates about international policy-making and world government. Far from seeing international reform as well-meaning but potentially irresponsible (...) idealism, progressive realists like E.H. Carr, John Herz, Hans J. Morgenthau, and Reinhold Niebuhr developed forward-looking ideas which offer an indispensable corrective to many presently influential views about global politics. Progressive realism, Scheuerman argues, offers a compelling and provocative vision of radical global change which - when properly interpreted, can help buttress current efforts to address the most pressing international issues. After recovering key subterranean strands in mid-twentieth century realism, Scheuerman underscores their relevance to contemporary international theory. Criticizing more recent realists for abandoning their tradition's best insights, he also demonstrates that reform-minded international theories - including versions of cosmopolitanism, constructivism, the English School, liberalism, and republicanism - could all benefit from taking Progressive Realism seriously. A major contribution both to the history of international relations and contemporary debates in international theory, The Realist Case for Global Reform concludes by considering how progressive realism informs the foreign policies of US President Barack Obama. (shrink)
This is the first full-length study in English of twentieth-century Germany's most influential authoritarian right-wing political theorist, Carl Schmitt, that focuses on the central place of his attack on the liberal rule of law. This is also the first book in any language to devote substantial attention to Schmitt's subterranean influence on some of the most important voices in political thought in the United States after 1945.
How does the experience of busyness impact democratic political life? My hunch is that those reading this essay might very well offer the following answer: busyness means that we relegate political activities to the bottom of a long and sometimes tedious laundry list of “things to get done.” In fact, many of us no longer even bother to include the basic activities of citizenship –getting informed about the issues, deliberating with our peers about matters of common concern, attending a political (...) meeting, or even voting —on the list in the first place. Like this author, many of you probably feel somewhat guilty about this as well, and thus try to compensate in some way or another… At worst, busyness generates political disinterest and apathy: many of our fellow citizens openly describe the most fundamental form of democratic participation, the vote, as “a waste of time.” At best, it seems to privilege an acceleration of political activity: we seek speedy and rapidly consummated types of involvement that do not unduly add to the enormous time pressures we already feel. Unfortunately, it remains unclear whether even such high-speed forms of citizen involvement are normatively satisfactory. Can liberal democracy flourish when a growing number of us avoid the responsibilities of citizenship altogether, while even those of us who try to remain politically involved insist that they be dealt with quickly and painlessly? In this essay, I hope at the very least to deepen our understanding of this quagmire. If I am not mistaken, it provides a useful starting point for examining one of the core challenges of contemporary political life: how can we make sure that busyness and citizenship coexist in a potentially fruitful, though by no means necessarily harmonious, relationship? (shrink)
The media hoop-la about Edward Snowden has obscured a less flashy yet more vital – and philosophically relevant – part of the story, namely the moral and political seriousness with which he acted to make the hitherto covert scope and scale of NSA surveillance public knowledge. Here I argue that we should interpret Snowden’s actions as meeting most of the demanding tests outlined in sophisticated political thinking about civil disobedience. Like Thoreau, Gandhi, King and countless other (forgotten) grass-roots activists, Snowden (...) has in fact articulated a powerful defense of why he was morally obligated to engage in politically motivated law-breaking. He has also undertaken impressive efforts to explain how his actions are distinguishable from ordinary criminality, and why they need not culminate in reckless lawlessness. In fact, his example can perhaps help us advance liberal and democratic ideas about civil disobedience. First, it highlights sound reasons why, pace the orthodox view, the acceptance of punishment by those engaging in civil disobedience should not be seen as a precondition of its legitimacy. Second, Snowden reminds us that ours is an era in which intensified globalization processes directly shape every feature of political existence. Defenders of civil disobedience need to update their reflections accordingly. (shrink)
Prominent critical theorists (including Jürgen Habermas) have embraced a radical democratic version of the popular notion of ‘global governance without government’, according to which postnational democratization can be achieved without establishing robust firms of postnational statehood. The sources of the argument in Hauke Brunkhorst’s recent theorizing are critically interrogated. Brunkhorst’s interpretation of the European Union as an emerging case of postnational democracy, his critique of traditional ideas of state sovereignty, and Kelsenian notions about the primacy of global law are criticized. (...) Robust democracy ‘beyond the nation-state’ will necessarily require the establishment of democratic postnational statehood. Keywords: global governance; global democracy; state building; monopoly on violence; cosmopolitanism; critical theory (Published: 10 March 2009) Citation: Ethics & Global Politics. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v2i1.1939. (shrink)
In the pathbreaking essays collected here, Neumann and Kirchheimer demonstrate that the death of democracy and the rise of fascism during the first half of the twentieth century suggest crucial lessons for contemporary political and legal scholars. The volume includes writings on constitutionalism, political freedom, Nazism, sovereignty, and both Nazi and liberal law. Most important, the Frankfurt authors point to the continuing efficacy of the rule of law as an instrument for regulating and restraining state authority, as well as ominous (...) evidence of the rule of law's fragility in modern liberal democracy. (shrink)
Here, I have tried to show that a second look at the young Schmitt's legal thinking does bring clarity to the 'confused'� and 'polemical' debate about his theoretical and political legacy. Pace Schmitt, it helps demonstrate that Schmitt's embrace of German fascism was anticipated by key elements of his thinking about the dilemma of legal indeterminacy -- well before Hitler's rise to power.
Este artículo es un intento de dilucidación y delimitación historiográfico-conceptual que pretende aportar un enfoque alternativo a los estudios sobre la teoría política realista. Mi propósito es presentar un bosquejo del sentido histórico del concepto de realismo político situándolo en los contextos de la Realpolitik alemana y de la escuela realista de las relaciones internacionales. De este modo, pretendo mostrar las relaciones contextuales del realismo político, la localización de su antagonismo con el liberalismo y la invención retrospectiva de una tradición (...) realista como resultado de una serie de apropiaciones intelectuales y políticas. This article is a historiographical and conceptual attempt of clarification and delimitation to offer an alternative view to the studies of the realist political theory. I pretend to put forward an outline of the historical sense of the concept of political realism, placing it on the contexts of German Realpolitik and the realist school of international relations. Thus, I pretend to show the contextual relations of political realism, the location of its antagonism against liberalism and the retrospective invention of a realist tradition as a result of a set of intellectual and political additions. (shrink)
Everywhere, life seems to be speeding up: we talk of “fast food” and “speed dating.” But what does the phenomenon of social acceleration really entail, and how new is it? While much has been written about our high-speed society in the popular media, serious academic analysis has lagged behind, and what literature there is comes more from Europe than from America. This collection of essays is a first step toward exposing readers on this side of the Atlantic to the importance (...) of this phenomenon and toward developing some preliminary conceptual categories for better understanding it. Among the major questions the volume addresses are these: Is acceleration occurring across all sectors of society and all dimensions of life, or is it affecting some more than others? Where is life not speeding up, and what results from this disparity? What are the fundamental causes of acceleration, as well as its consequences for everyday experience? How does it affect our political and legal institutions? How much speed can we tolerate? The volume tackles these questions in three sections. Part 1 offers a selection of astute early analyses of acceleration as experienced in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Part 2 samples recent attempts at analyzing social acceleration, including translations of the work of leading European thinkers. Part 3 explores acceleration’s political implications. (shrink)
Ce texte a déjà paru dans la mineure « Rythmanalyses » de la revue Multitudes, n° 46, 2011. Nous remercions la revue Multitudes de nous avoir autorisé à le reproduire ici. Dans son ouvrage Liberal Democracy and the Social Acceleration of Time, WilliamScheuerman montre que « le déphasage entre la temporalité relativement lente de la démocratie délibérative, d'un côté, et, de l'autre, la dynamique à grande vitesse du capitalisme et du système des États-nations modernes représente une source (...) importante de - Pour une éthique et une politique du rythme – Nouvel article. (shrink)