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Afro-communitarian Implications for Justice and Reconciliation

Rianna Oelofsen


This article explores the relationship between the concepts of restorative justice, racial reconciliation and Afro-communitarianism, and how these concepts apply to the South African situation. A version of restorative justice which is necessary for the Afro-communitarian conception of reconciliation will be defended. The understanding of restorative justice defended includes aspects of both distributive and procedural justice.

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Claims of Need in Property Law and Politics

Patrick Cockburn


Both courts of law and political theorists have grappled with the problem of giving the concept of ‘need’ a place in our reasoning about the rights and wrongs of property regimes. But in the U.K., legal changes in the last fifteen years have eroded the legal possibilities for striking some compromise between the claims of the needy and the rights of property owners. Against this backdrop this article compares three theoretical accounts of how the fact of human need should impact upon our thinking about property rights: the rights-based arguments of Jeremy Waldron, the radical democratic theory of Lawrence Hamilton and the anarchist commentary of Colin Ward. While ‘theories’ of need have paid much attention to the nature of need ‘itself’, the article argues that this comparison reveals another issue that is just as important: where and how should claims of need be registered in legal and political processes?

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Pettman, Dominic. Infinite Distraction

Paying Attention to Social Media

Conor Heaney

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Rationality and Consensus in Kwasi Wiredu’s Traditional African Polities

Bernard Matolino


The disagreement over what was responsible for arriving at consensual positions, in traditional African polities, is best captured in the classic debate between Kwasi Wiredu and Emmanuel Eze. The former holds that rational persuasion was the sole informant of decision-making while the latter argues that non-rational factors played a crucial role in securing a consensual decision. If Wiredu is correct then consensus could work in modern society as it can be argued that it does not rely on traditionalistic scaffoldings. If, on the other hand, Eze is correct, then consensus cannot work in modern largely urbanised Africa as its traditional underpinnings have largely disappeared. While Emmanuel Ani’s intervention in this debate is welcome for its earnest search for a system that could work, his support for Eze is not bold enough to undermine Wiredu’s rationalistic orientation in consensus.

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Vote Buying and Tax-cut Promises

Thom Brooks


Both vote buying and tax-cut promises are attempts to manipulate voters through cash incentives in order to win elections, but only vote buying is illegal. Should we extend the ban on vote buying to tax-cut promises? This article will argue for three conclusions. The first is that tax-cut promises should be understood as a form of vote buying. The second is that campaign promises are a form of vote buying. The third conclusion is that campaign promises, including tax-cut promises, should not be banned. An important distinction is drawn between enforceable wrongful incentives and unenforceable wrongful incentives. The difference between vote buying and tax-cut promises is not wrongfulness but enforceability.

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The editors would like to sincerely thank the following peer reviewers for giving of their time and expertise so generously.

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Book Reviews

Michael D Royster and Jeffrey D. Hilmer

Goran Therborn. The Killing Fields of Inequality Reviewed by Michael D. Royster

Wendy Brown. Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution Reviewed by Jeffrey D. Hilmer

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Digital Peacekeepers, Drone Surveillance and Information Fusion

A Philosophical Analysis of New Peacekeeping

Lisa Portmess and Bassam Romaya

In June 2014 an Expert Panel on Technology and Innovation in UN Peacekeeping was commissioned to examine how technology and innovation could strengthen peacekeeping missions. The panel's report argues for wider deployment of advanced technologies, including greater use of ground and airborne sensors and other technical sources of data, advanced data analytics and information fusion to assist in data integration. This article explores the emerging intelligence-led, informationist conception of UN peacekeeping against the backdrop of increasingly complex peacekeeping mandates and precarious security conditions. New peacekeeping with its heightened commitment to information as a political resource and the endorsement of offensive military action within robust mandates reflects the multiple and conflicting trajectories generated by asymmetric conflicts, the responsibility to protect and a technology-driven information revolution. We argue that the idea of peacekeeping is being revised (and has been revised) by realities beyond peacekeeping itself that require rethinking the morality of peacekeeping in light of the emergence of 'digital peacekeeping' and the knowledge revolution engendered by new technologies.

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Nir Eisikovits

In the last seventy years the nature of war has changed dramatically. Rather than involving two or more national armies fighting in uniform and obeying an orderly chain of command, most organised violence since the end of the Second World War has been asymmetrical, involving a regular army on the one hand and militia or guerrilla forces on the other.1 At the same time, the nature of battle – the intense, adrenaline-fueled close quarters confrontation that has traditionally defined the very heart of our idea of war (Keegan 1983) – is also changing as a result of dramatic advances in our ability to fight remotely. The increasing role of robotic devices and drones in recent conflicts, as well as the exponentially growing potency of cyberwarfare, are changing what it means to do combat. Now, asymmetrical war has been around forever. Defeated armies and weaker parties have often turned to guerrilla tactics against stronger foes. But, in recent decades, asymmetrical war has become the primary form of violence we encounter. Similarly, the history of military technology has always been the history of killing at a growing distance (swords allow more distance than fists, longbows than swords, rifles than longbows and so on). And yet, recent years have seen a qualitative leap in what we can do from far away.

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The Ideal of Peace and the Morality of War

Jeppe von Platz

According to both common wisdom and long-standing tradition, the ideal of peace is central to the morality of war. I argue that this notion is mistaken, not because peace is unachievable and utopian, though it might be for many of today's asymmetrical conflicts; nor because the pursuit of peace is counterproductive, though, again, it might be for many of today's conflicts; the problem, rather, is that the pursuit of peace is not a proper objective of war.