Monism, Pluralism and Relativism In this article I want to re-examine the issue of moral conflict and argue that certain explanations of this issue are particularly problematic in relation to the distinction between the concepts of the private, the
The Private, the Public and the Political
Stuart Hampshire and the Normality of Conflict
By way of an engagement with the thought of Stuart Hampshire and his account of the ‘normality of conflict’, this article articulates a novel distinction between two models of value pluralism. The first model identifies social and political conflict as the consequence of pluralism, whereas the second identifies pluralism as the consequence of social and political conflict. Failure to recognise this distinction leads to confusion about the implications of value pluralism for contemporary public ethics. The article illustrates this by considering the case of toleration. It contends that Hampshire’s model of pluralism offers a new perspective on the problem of toleration and illuminates a new way of thinking about the accommodation of diversity as ‘civility within conflict’.
David McIvor’s Mourning in America and Simon Stow’s American Mourning
Greta Fowler Snyder
What does a democratically-productive form of mourning look like in America? David McIvor’s Mourning in America and Simon Stow’s American Mourning argue that it entails the embrace of ambivalence about self and other. Democratically-productive mourning pushes against the tendencies toward idealization and demonization. Embracing ambivalence enables us to move to more effective political engagement in the context of both collaboration and conflict. It allows us to understand that the process of mourning must be ongoing both to protect us from political excesses to which we are prone and to push society toward justice.
Beyond the Conflict-Consensus Divide
Henrik P. Bang
This article examines the consensus-conflict divide within contemporary democratic theory as manifested in the works of Jürgen Habermas, Chantal Mouffe, Jacques Rancière, and John Rawls. It relates the democratic crisis diagnosis to the presence of this conceptual divide and suggests overcoming it by focusing on the work of Michel Foucault, especially his concept of the “rectangle of the good parrhesia.” Foucault's analysis goes beyond conflict-consensus through its positive and creative reconceptualization of political authority featuring a transformative capacity linked to the idea of telling the truth.
In an attempt to capture the unexpected forms taken by excessive violence since the epochal years of 1989-91, Robert Kaplan has argued that these developments indicate a coming anarchy, which has to be prevented (Kaplan 1994). This statement is based on the assumption that the level at which wars are being fought has shifted from the level of the state to a 'lower' level. It is argued that in most of these conflicts, non-state actors are involved on at least one side. The motivation and goals of these non-state actors seem not to follow political or ideological imperatives but have other sources, which may be ethnic, economic, or the fact that violence has become an autonomous force. Things would look different, however, if this diffusion were no more than a transitional phase after the breakdown of the polar order of the Cold War. The paradigm of the wars to come would then be determined not by the order/anarchy antithesis, but by the conflict between different conceptions of order. Finally, I argue that there will be a re-politicization of war and violence in the long run.
This article concentrates on asymmetrical civil war, one common type of contemporary conflict. My aim is to articulate some of the normative jus post bellum guidelines that should be followed in ending this kind of asymmetrical conflict, and the ideal of just peace that should inform the development of such guidelines. I argue that questions surrounding the just ending and aftermath of asymmetrical conflict should be answered relationally, that is by reference to the kind of relationship such efforts should seek to cultivate. Morally defensible political relationships, I claim, express the general moral values of respect for agency and reciprocity. It is these values, I claim, that processes for ending conflict must express and that inform the regulative ideal of just peace at the core of jus post bellum.
From the moment Silvio Berlusconi entered politics in 1994, the
conflict of interest issue has rarely been off the political agenda.
Yet when he returned to power in 2001, the dilemma posed by his
occupancy of Palazzo Chigi was almost exactly the same as it had
been seven years earlier. Much had been said and written on the
subject in the intervening period by politicians, lawyers and academics.
Numerous bills on the regulation of conflicts of interest
were introduced in both subsequent Parliaments. In April 1998, a
bill with very broad cross-party support was agreed upon by the
Chamber of Deputies, and very late in the day, and with important
amendments from the Chamber version, one was approved,
on a far more partisan basis, by the Senate in February 2001.
Reflecting upon the Gendered Harms of War
Vesna Nikolić-Ristanović, ed., Women, Violence and War: Wartime Victimization of Refugees in the Balkans, trans. Borislav Radović, Budapest and New York: Central European University Press, 2000, 300 pp., £13.95 (pb), ISBN 978-963-9116-60-3.
Vesna Nikolić-Ristanović, ed., Zene, nasilje i rat (Women, violence, and war), Belgrade: Institut za kriminološka i sociološka istraživanja, 1995, 207 pp., €10.00 (pb), no ISBN mentioned.
Since the 1990s various influential authors have argued that Clausewitz’s theory is no longer applicable, not only in relation to contemporary conflicts, but also in general (see the discussion in de Nooy 1997). Some have suggested that it is harmful (van Creveld 1991, 1998) and even self-destructive (Keegan 1993, 1995) to continue to use this theory as the basis for understanding and as a guide to political action, given the revolutionary changes in war and violence occurring in the world’s communities.2 Clausewitz, it is proposed, was only concerned with war between states employing regular armies, whereas conflict today mainly involves non-state actors.
Why It Is Not a Refutation of Consensus
Chantal Mouffe's conceptualization of a deliberatively forged consensus as a hegemony and her assertion that adversarial politics best nurtures the conditions of freedom have had a profound influence on contemporary democratic thought. This article takes a critical view of this trend, arguing that a norm of consensus is a very precondition, rather than impediment, for the kind of pluralistic democracy Mouffe and other agonists wish to promote. It is asserted that Mouffe's dehistoricized refutation of consensus lacks causal or explanatory relevance to how concrete actors embedded in empirical situations relate to one another and that the very preparedness to find something acceptable about another is at the heart of what it means to treat others justly.