sexta-feira, 17 de agosto de 2012

Cosmopolitanism and Deliberative Democracy: Norms and Justifications

New Europe College / Bucharest (Romania)

The core idea shared by all cosmopolitan views is that all human
beings belong to a single community and the ultimate units of moral
concern are individual human beings, not state or particular forms of
human associations. Nevertheless, a political theory of
cosmopolitanism should confront questions regarding the possibility
of a cosmopolitan project in the alleged post-metaphysical and
post-universalistic theoretical framework: How can one justify
cosmopolitan values without falling back on some conceptions of a
fixed human nature or a shared system of belief? How are the
cosmopolitan norms legitimated by those envisaged by these norms? How
is the authority of the cosmopolitan norms created and maintained?

In the most influential recent political theories with an
incontestable cosmopolitan potential, the metaphysical objectivity of
the alleged universal values has been replaced by the intersubjective
validity attainable through discursive practices and dialogue, which
involves “reasoning from the point of view of other”, and reasonable
agreement. This approach finds its clearest elaborations in J.
Rawls’s public reason, J.Habermas’ ideal speech situation and
communication action, D. Held’s layered cosmopolitanism as a mix of
regulative principles and hermeneutic complexity, S. Benhabib’s
cosmopolitanism as ‘democratic iterations’, in J. Bohman’s “global
democratic minimum”, J. Dryzek’s ‘discursive practices’ and others.
Concomitantly, the intersubjective validity attainable through
discourse and deliberation attempts to offer solutions to the
legitimacy questions through public justification, which is the key
idea in contemporary liberal-democratic political theory, and which
means that no regime is legitimate unless it is reasonable from every
individual's point of view. In addition, public deliberation is
considered to be an effective tool for promoting transparency,
enabling those affected by decisions to see why and how they were
made, contributing to greater accountability.

Therefore, from the perspective of legitimating cosmopolitan norms,
deliberative practices and cosmopolitanism could be considered as
being complementary. Agents of deliberation can be state
representatives, NGOs (including corporations and civil society
groups), and, mainly, individual citizens. Potentially, deliberative
democracy includes, in a deliberation, all persons, ‘all those
affected’, irrespective of the place. This focus of individual
citizens constitutes the ‘hard core’ of both cosmopolitanism and
deliberative democracy. Nevertheless, with its emphasis on
“reasonable agreement”, “overlapping consensus” “reasons that all can
accept”, the discursive justification of norms risks either to
postulate a global consensus through the attempts to justify the
universality of cosmopolitanism or to re-affirm the importance of the
nation-state, where the conditions for deliberation could be more
easy obtained, thus falling back into ‘methodological
nationalism’ (U. Beck), which assumes that humanity is divided
irrevocably into a given number of nations.


The aims of the workshop are to examine the cosmopolitan potential of
deliberative democracy and to see if the cosmopolitan political
theory and deliberative democracy are interrelated approaches in
conceiving post-universalist, non-metaphysical cosmopolitanism. Our
main purpose is to see if deliberative democracy helps to elaborate a
non-foundationalist concept of cosmopolitanism, which will not rely
on the assumptions of global agreement and consensus, but which will
explore the dynamics of disagreement and the cosmopolitan potential
of critique.


- What are the defining features of deliberative approach to global
governance? How does deliberation along cosmopolitan lines differ in
content from deliberation in a domestic democratic society? Is
deliberative democracy the most suitable model of democracy for a
cosmopolitan political theory? Is deliberative democracy better
suited for the global arena?

- Are there any prerequisites for a cosmopolitan/global deliberation,
like a shared culture, language, or demos, or is rather a ‘shared
problem’ (Dryzek) sufficient for global deliberation?

- Is global deliberative democracy a comprehensive and
self-sufficient model of global governance or it is a means of
democratizing the global governance – a necessary complement to
global institutions and and/or global representative bodies? Is
deliberation itself part of the process of cosmopolitisation? Do the
spread of deliberative practices transform and re-shape the space of
public deliberation?

- Who are the agents of global deliberative democracy? How does
cosmopolitan deliberative democracy increase the number of
participants in deliberation? How does it include all those affected
by a decision? How do we tackle the demanding requirement that
sufficient levels of political equality should be achieved in order
to assure the access of all interested/affected to the deliberative

- What would be the outcomes/results of the global deliberation: a
global consensus? A global disagreement? Or the results are
unpredictable, shaped by the very process of deliberation? Could the
deliberative outcome accommodate both plurality and consensus through
a meta-consensus? What are the conditions that would make a
meta-consensus possible and plausible? Will a meta-consensus have a
legitimating value?

- Is the ‘legitimating power’ of deliberative democracy a sufficient
ground for constructing a theory of cosmopolitanism? Does
deliberation guide us towards a ‘negative cosmopolitanism’ (Beck) of
shared problems and risks or towards an ‘ideal theory’ of

Organizational details

Please submit an abstract (300-500 words) no later than September 2,
2012 to or/and . Please also
include a separate cover sheet indicating your name, professional
status (faculty, graduate student, independent researcher, etc.), and
institutional affiliation. Papers may be of a length suitable for a
peer-reviewed journal article. Decision notices will be emailed by
September 16, 2012. The deadline for submission of full paper is
November 2, 2012. The organizers provide accommodation and meals. In
exceptional cases, travel expenses may be reimbursed. For further
details or questions, please contact or/and

This activity is part of the project CRITICAL FOUNDATIONS OF
CONTEMPORARY COSMOPOLITANISM supported by a grant of the Romanian
National Authority for Scientific Research, CNCS-UEFISCDI (code:
PN-II-RU-TE-2011-3-0218, contract nr. 98/05.10.2011):


Tamara Caraus
New Europe College
str. Plantelor 21, sector 2
023971 Bucharest
Email: or

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