WHOSE COSMOS, WHICH COSMOPOLITICS?: Comments on the Peace Terms of Ulrich Beck

WHOSE COSMOS, WHICH COSMOPOLITICS?: Comments on the Peace Terms of Ulrich Beck Bruno Blessed are the peacemakers. It is always nicer to read a peace proposal (like Ulrich Beck’s) than a call for jihad (like Samuel Huntington’s). Beck’s robust and realist form of cosmopolitanism, expressed in the lead article of this symposium, is to be welcomed. On the other hand, peace proposals make sense only if the real extent of the conflicts they are supposed to settle is understood. A detached and, let us say, inexpensive way of understanding enmity, a Wilsonian indifference to its complexity, may further infuriate the parties to a violent dispute. The problem with Beck’s solution is that, if world wars were about issues of universality and particularity, as he makes them out to be, then world peace would have ensued long ago. The limitation of Beck’s approach is that his “cosmopolitics” entails no cosmos and hence no politics either. I am a great admirer of Beck’s sociology — the only far-reaching one Europe has to offer — and have said so in print on several occasions. What we have here is an argument among friends working together on a puzzle that has defeated, so far, everyone everywhere. Let me make clear from the beginning that http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Common Knowledge Duke University Press

WHOSE COSMOS, WHICH COSMOPOLITICS?: Comments on the Peace Terms of Ulrich Beck

Common Knowledge, Volume 10 (3) – Oct 1, 2004

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2004 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0961-754X
eISSN
1538-4578
D.O.I.
10.1215/0961754X-10-3-450
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Bruno Blessed are the peacemakers. It is always nicer to read a peace proposal (like Ulrich Beck’s) than a call for jihad (like Samuel Huntington’s). Beck’s robust and realist form of cosmopolitanism, expressed in the lead article of this symposium, is to be welcomed. On the other hand, peace proposals make sense only if the real extent of the conflicts they are supposed to settle is understood. A detached and, let us say, inexpensive way of understanding enmity, a Wilsonian indifference to its complexity, may further infuriate the parties to a violent dispute. The problem with Beck’s solution is that, if world wars were about issues of universality and particularity, as he makes them out to be, then world peace would have ensued long ago. The limitation of Beck’s approach is that his “cosmopolitics” entails no cosmos and hence no politics either. I am a great admirer of Beck’s sociology — the only far-reaching one Europe has to offer — and have said so in print on several occasions. What we have here is an argument among friends working together on a puzzle that has defeated, so far, everyone everywhere. Let me make clear from the beginning that

Journal

Common KnowledgeDuke University Press

Published: Oct 1, 2004

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