Critical Theory and World Politics by Richard Wyn Jones

By Richard Wyn Jones

This article brings jointly best serious theorists of worldwide politics to debate either the promise and the pitfalls in their paintings. The individuals diversity greatly around the terrain of worldwide politics, attractive with either conception and emancipatory perform. evaluations by way of students from different IR traditions also are integrated. the result's a seminal assertion of the severe concept method of realizing global politics.

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Significantly, praxeological inquiry considers large-scale questions about the possibility of new forms of human governance and reflects on the more important developments that can help realize this ideal. Visions of the modes of governance that ought to appeal to societies with deep moral commitments to citizenship are combined with critical reflections on the concrete measures that deserve support. The latter include the right of individual appeal against the state not only in national but in European courts; the international protection of minority rights; the devolution of power to domestic regions; and the development of richer conceptions of European citizenship that embrace legal, political, and welfare rights (Linklater 1996a).

A more profound assessment of the meaning of the critical turn would note how far it runs parallel with the wider literature on the prospects for new modes of human governance and new forms of political community. It is not possible to undertake a detailed examination of these parallel lines of investigation here, but for present purposes, it may suffice to comment briefly on some recent writings that envisage forms of political community that break the nexus between sovereignty, territoriality, nationality, and citizenship.

An awareness of the ambiguities of modernity, which has its origins in Hegel’s reflections on the modern state and revolutionary terror and in Marx’s writings on industrial capitalism, is pronounced across the critical spectrum. From that premise, the goal of critical theory is to release the progressive side of modernity from stifling constraints. But the critical project forgoes the assumption that practices of liberation are innocent or unambiguous and guaranteed to remove rather than reconstitute the forms of power; it dispenses with the The Changing Contours 25 perfectionist supposition that the project of modernity or the Enlightenment could ever be finalized or brought to completion.

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