Previous Research Projects
Funding: ESRC-funded research project (New Securities Programme)
Period: 1st October 2003 to 30 September 2004
Team: Robert Fine was lead investigator and Dr William Smith (now Department of Politics, University of Dundee) was research assistant.
Abstract: This research reflects on the contemporary application of cosmopolitan ways of thinking to questions of military intervention. It explores the elaboration of a cosmopolitan paradigm in contemporary social and political theory, how it lends itself to both justifications and repudiations of military intervention, and how it has in fact been translated into processes of opinion formation in the public sphere. The paradox that informs this research is that the new cosmopolitanism that has proliferated in the social sciences over the last decade declares a strong debt to Kantian conceptions of ‘perpetual peace’; yet it has also leant itself to justifications of war on universal moral grounds. This may appear as a ‘betrayal’ of the original idea or as the pursuit of an interior logic. This research suspends both assumptions in exploring the relation between ideas and social agency: first, concerning the elaboration of the original cosmopolitan paradigm, second, concerning the application of this paradigm to the question of military intervention, and third, concerning the uses of this paradigm in public deliberation. It requires examination both of social scientific texts and of public statements by key social actors made in the course of public debates around particular military interventions.