Habermas’ Vision of a New Cosmopolitan Order
The multi-faceted processes of globalization have been associated with the increasing interconnectedness of the world or the creation of a global village. These processes are, however, full of ambiguities in that they challenge human freedom, dignity, rule of law and democratic selfdetermination. In this condition of human existence, cosmopolitanism is being advocated as a practical consciousness of universal humanism and as a political project to regulate the dehumanizing effects of economic globalization. This article explores and analyzes Jurgen Habermas’ conception of a new cosmopolitan order as constitutionally structured multi-level global governance without global government. Habermas upholds the enlightenment ideals of rationality, freedom, human rights and democracy based on the notion of communicative reason implicit in everyday use of language. The global realization of human rights and democracy is conceived as the control of supranational and transnational governance by the will of world citizens developed in national and transnational public spheres. I argue that Habermas’ cosmopolitan project is problematic in that the development of cosmopolitan consciousness and global public sphere is compromised by economic globalization. In as much as national and transnational public spheres depend on uneven global economic structure; it is unlikely that Habermas’ project will realize the goal of overcoming global economic and social inequalities. I argue that the development of popular based nationalism in the postcolonial South can make the state serve the interest of the majority of the people and also challenge economic globalization.
Keywords: theory of communicative action, life world, public sphere, distributive justice, nationalism, global domestic politics
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