Academic journal article CEU Political Science Journal

Globalization, Global Governance, and Cosmopolitanism: A Critical Exploration of European Practice

Academic journal article CEU Political Science Journal

Globalization, Global Governance, and Cosmopolitanism: A Critical Exploration of European Practice

Article excerpt

1. Introduction (1)

The end of the Cold War dealt a great blow to those (particularly the realists) who had fetishized the nation-state, both in analytical and geographical/physical terms. (2) Although the U.S. came out of the Cold War as a global hegemon, it was met with a multiplicity of actors that do not necessarily require the consent of states to act. (3) There is no doubt globalization has brought changes to the world, ranging from "Hollywoodization" or "McDonaldization" to transnational social and political-economic arrangements or actors who would have played only a negligible role in the Westphalian sense. (4) It is worth noting that this almost unavoidable interconnectedness comes with both merits and downfalls, and there is no consensus on which of these aspects weighs more. (5) In the context of the changing post-Cold War era, it has become relatively prudent to approach both theory and practice from a multi-perspective standpoint, although some still celebrate the inert rigidity of traditional theories; hence the proliferation of many theories that claim to describe existing phenomena, or sometimes, claim to prophesize the future ideal. (6) In the camp of international relations theory, however, there seem to be a group of theories that have gained hegemonic positions although they hardly depict anything other than abstract orthodoxies. The paper mainly contends that although the concepts of "global governance" and "cosmopolitanism" have gained currency in international relations theory, much still needs to done to find the connection between the theory and the "facts" on the ground--particularly regarding the notion of "cosmopolitanism". These concepts, for the most part, remain too abstract to serve practically-oriented theoretical functions.

This article adopts a critical theoretical perspective which considers "the 'fact of globalization' in relation to the goal of realizing the norms of human emancipation and democracy". (7) This perspective is methodologically placed in discourse analysis, which aims to tear apart these popular concepts to ascertain their practical significance. By revealing what has been referred to by this author elsewhere as the 'practicality deficit' in theory, we can attempt to establish how the theory can be useful to its specific purpose, based on the a priori assumption that every theory is for someone and for some purpose as Robert Cox argues. (8) It is this praxeologically-oriented thinking that is absent in the extremely abstract variants of both theories of global governance and cosmopolitanism. The focus is on cosmopolitanism as IR theory, but it will be futile to discuss this concept without reference to global governance or globalization since both are connected to cosmopolitanism in many ways. While these concepts mean different things to their proponents, all three will be used interchangeably in some portions of this paper. For the specificity of the vision of cosmopolitanism, the point of reference shall be the European Union (EU) --a post-national political construction which has become a model that reveals the possibility of a regional or even global cosmopolitan order, yet fraught with many challenges. With regard to the EU example, it is clear that a great deal of effort is going toward building a much united Europe, one similar to the United States of America. However, this agenda faces so many daunting challenges that are not only toppling the agenda itself, but also revealing an existential crisis within the Union that can potentially affect its future potency. This article commends some of the efforts that the European Commission and other established EU institutions are making towards building a stronger Europe but also argues that these efforts are yet to fully reach the stage of a demonstrable possibility. In sum, the paper will show that cosmopolitanism, particularly as it stands in Europe, is only an ideal-type which has lost touch with the realities of enduring differences that pertain at all levels--ideologically, politically, culturally, and historically. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.