Vol. 9, No. 1


Jakub Franěk Editorial: Cultural Diversity and Value Pluralism in European and Global Politics
Martijn Boot Does Value Pluralism Prevent Consensus on Justice?
Abstract This paper discusses the consequences of value pluralism for the possibility of achieving consensus on justice. Justice is a multifaceted concept. Its multiple aspects are related to plural values, which may conflict mutually. Besides, elements of justice may clash with other weighty human values. If these conflicts occur, many philosophers believe that we should weigh the relevant demands of justice against each of them or against other important human values. However, under particular conditions, incommensurability of the relevant plural values prevents the assignment or determination of objective and impartial weights. In those cases, an impartial or objective ranking, or the right balance, do not exist. People may recognize the same universally valid human values, principles of justice and human rights. Achieving consensus on all important questions of justice is nevertheless unlikely, due to the problem that there seems to be no right or single right and determinate balance and ranking of these plural and universally valid but sometimes conflicting values and ethical demands.
Jill McArdle Alternative Approaches to Public Reason in Pluralistic Societies
Abstract John Rawls asserts that the form of public reason appropriate to modern pluralist contexts is one that seeks to avoid divisive issues of ethics and the good by removing them from the political public sphere, and by grounding public discourse instead in citizens’ reasonableness expressed in a consensus on a conception of liberal justice. One objection to this account has focussed on its apparent over-dependence on the assumption that all “reasonable” citizens of a liberal polity “share” a political identity that can ground a consensus on justice and public reason. I examine this objection and conclude that the objection to Rawls’ account of reasonableness is valid; however, it must be directed not at the overlapping consensus but at the foundational level of justification, i.e. his understanding of practical reason. I also point to Onora O’Neill’s alternative interpretation of Kantian practical reasoning, which shares insights with discourse ethics, as a more promising approach to public reason in pluralist contexts.
Angela Roothaan Political and Cultural Identity in the Global Postcolony: Postcolonial Thinkers on the Racist Enlightenment and the Struggle for Humanity
Abstract This paper investigates how, in the condition of postcolonialism, claims of political and cultural identity depend on the understanding of humanity, and how this understanding ultimately relates to historical agency. I understand postcolonialism as the condition that aims at the decolonization of thought of formerly colonized and former colonizers together – a condition that is global. I will construe my argument by discussing the following authors: Frantz Fanon, Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze, Amilcar Cabral, Achille Mbembe and Michael Onyebuchi Eze. Fanon for his criticism of modern Western philosophy as dehumanizing the other; Emmanuel Eze for his in-depth critique of Kant and Hegel’s ideas of humanity and the racialised and racist frames of thought they left behind and both Fanon and Eze for their proposals to understand humanity as a project under construction; Amilcar Cabral for his views on the interrelatedness of political and cultural identity in a situation of the building of new nations. Achille Mbembe because he showed the relations between the former colonizers and the formerly colonized to be characterized by conflicting temporalizations and Michael Eze for his understanding of historical agency in the condition of postcolonialism. Through this discussion I will disentangle the relations between identity (political and cultural) and humanity in the postcolony, and arrive, after a critique of the racist Enlightenment, at an inclusive, instead of an exclusive, understanding of humanity and historical agency.
Olena Lyubchenko The Ukrainian Crisis: A Case of ‘New Orientalism’
Abstract During the 2013 Ukrainian Euromaidan uprising and in its aftermath, many politicians, journalists, as well as academics diagnosed the Ukraine Crisis to be a manifestation of middle- class aspirations for a total social, political, and economic integration with the EU. Although correct in part, this account overlooks the heterogeneity of the Euromaidan participants and the role played by radical right and nationalist groups. This paper examines the problematic coalition between liberalism and the radical right factions in the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine. More specifically, it suggests the liberal project that is taking place in Ukraine depends on a specific form of the friend-enemy distinction of ‘New Orientalism’. By doing so, this paper presents a reading of Euromaidan through Carl Schmitt’s critique of liberalism. The discussion concludes with suggesting a political economy analysis of separatism in the Donbass region.
Giorgos Bithymitris Socio-cultural Aspects of Neo-nationalism in Crisis Contexts: An Empirical Analysis of Liminal Workers’ Perceptions in Greece (2011-2015)
Abstract This article deals with the socio-cultural elements and the hybridity of neo-nationalist discourses in the context of liminal working-class communities. Through the analysis of interview material collected from workers who experience an unprecedented condition of insecurity, volatility and economic hardship, we aim to understand the interplay between contradictory and yet interacting interpretative repertoires, emotional structures and social orders that either enable or hamper the permeability of neo-nationalism. To this end, we employ methods drawn from the Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) framework, focussing on collective identities, which (a) are constituted within representation, (b) are constrained by different structures of power and social actors and (c) are consolidated in emotional structures. The findings from the analysis are then linked to questions about nation and class, aiming at a more nuanced interpretation of the influence of the extreme right politics on the working-class members.