Inhuman Conditions: On Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights by Pheng Cheah

By Pheng Cheah

Globalization delivers to carry humans all over the world jointly, to unite them as contributors of the human group. To such sanguine expectancies, Pheng Cheah responds deftly with a sobering account of the way the "inhuman" imperatives of capitalism and expertise are remodeling our realizing of humanity and its prerogatives. via an exam of debates approximately cosmopolitanism and human rights, Inhuman stipulations questions key principles approximately what it capacity to be human that underwrite our figuring out of globalization. Cheah asks even if the modern overseas department of work so irreparably compromises and mars worldwide solidarities and our experience of human belonging that we needs to considerably reconsider adored rules approximately humankind because the bearer of dignity and freedom or tradition as an influence of transcendence. Cheah hyperlinks influential arguments concerning the new cosmopolitanism drawn from the arts, the social sciences, and cultural reports to a perceptive exam of the older cosmopolitanism of Kant and Marx, and juxtaposes them with proliferating formations of collective tradition to bare the issues in claims concerning the drawing close decline of the geographical region and the obsolescence of renowned nationalism. Cheah additionally proposes a thorough rethinking of the normative strength of human rights in mild of ways Asian values problem human rights universalism. (20070901)

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Extra info for Inhuman Conditions: On Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights

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The world is undoubtedly interconnected, and transnational mobility is clearly on the rise. One should not, however, automatically take this to imply that popular forms of cosmo- The Cosmopolitical—Today 41 politanism already exist. Whether this mobility and interconnectedness give rise to meaningful cosmopolitanisms in the robust sense of pluralized world political communities is an entirely separate issue. Anthony Smith, for instance, suggests that a mass-based global loyalty is anthropologically impossible: A timeless global culture answers to no living needs and conjures no memories.

What is imagined is a universal circle of belonging that embraces the whole of humanity, as a result of the transcendence of the particularistic and blindly given ties of kinship and country. Hence, the cosmopolitan embodies the universality of philosophical reason itself, namely, its power of transcending the particular and contingent. The regional particularism opposed by cosmopolitanism may be defined territorially, culturally, linguistically, or even racially, but it is not defined nationally as we now understand the term, because in a Europe made up of absolutist dynastic states, the popular national state did not yet exist.

Nationality was not even an issue in Kant’s vision of the cosmopolitical. It is therefore a little startling to see Marx characterizing the nation and its appendages—national economy, industry, and culture—in naturalistic and primordial terms only fifty-three years later. Indeed, by then the nation is sufficiently annexed to the territorial state (which has in turn naturalized its boundaries through official nationalism) for it to be characterized as a particularity to be opposed and eroded by (capitalist and proletarian) cosmopolitanism.

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