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Citizenship, Human Rights and Identity: Prospects of a Liberal Cosmopollitan Order.

This book focuses on the notion of citizenship in relation to the notions of human rights, identity and culture. It poses the question of the prospects of a liberal cosmopolitan order dealing with a number of interrelated themes: ethics, emancipation and what Derrida calls the "new humanities;" identity, war and crimes against humanity; citizenship, and education rights within a knowledge economy; colonization, development and peace; changing notions of democracy within an information society; and culture, difference and otherness. These are the themes that make problematic aspects of the liberal cosmopolitan order. One of the main tropes connecting these themes is how the primary liberal values of freedom, emancipation and equality work out in a globalized world. The interrelationship of these values are problematized in different settings as they relate to issues of global world order with a focus on the adaptability of the liberal framework of values and law in creating a genuine cosmopolitan order.


Michael Peters' book lies within the tradition of committed political philosophy: That which not only wants to understand but also to educate and provide solutions. The issues at stake in this collection of essays are those we are all confronted with on our planet today: How do we ensure freedom, emancipation and equality for all people in a genuine cosmopolitan order? Michael Peters is a true scholar; he addresses this question in the mode of critique with reference to the classic tradition from Hobbes to Kant of course but also and mainly to the modern debate from Foucault to Agamben. Michael Peters is also well informed about what goes on in the world to day: He takes into account and reflects upon the newest developments of the world order such as for example the Iraqi war, the financial and Eurozone crises, the challenges of the European Union, the events in Syria. He discusses neo-conservatism, postmodern terror and the globalization of violence. He analyses the consequences and possibilities of the reconstitution of global public spaces in the digitized society through internet. Thus, a very important an interesting book for all of us who try to understand and act upon our contemporary world; a great book which deals with the necessity to respect cultural difference, to redefine development, to reconsider international politics and to rethink education.

Dominique Bouchet, University of Southern Denmark

For readers engaged in local situations that are intensely linked to international constellations; who interact with students about whose cultures they know little; and struggle to understand these many different conditions of possibility without, on a day to day basis, connecting educational experiences to the global politics impacting on their practice and theory, this book unfurls significant horizons. Peters engages with a range of positions regarding citizenship, human rights, identity and cultural exchange, cosmopolitanism and postcolonialism, ethics and normative frameworks that affect education in the twenty-first century. The connections he articulates between educational concerns and those of global citizenship are fascinating for anyone who wonders how one can be involved in these arenas as more than a spectator. The collection brings together papers which problematize these issues from a position informed by Peters' wide ranging understanding of theory and personal experience. His life in three continents and frequent visits to Asia and South America has placed him in diverse positions from which to observe, be involved and think. As a German, I learnt new things about my country of birth, as a New Zealand resident, I found valuable insights into the local situation within a global context. I am sure other readers will find their own points in which theoretical interest and on the ground practices rewardingly congeal.

Tina Engels-Schwarzpaul, Auckland University of Technology

Michael Peters has written a superb and informative book on the complex relationship between citizenship and human rights, identity, and culture. He takes on the enormously important values of freedom, emancipation, and democracy and imagines what they mean as both a condition and practice for what might be called the promise of democracy in an age when the boundaries of nation states are dissolving and the relationship between power and local politics is breaking down. This is a brilliant text and should be read by everyone concerned about the changing nature of citizenship, human rights, and liberal democracy in an age with democracy is under siege by the forces of neoliberal capital and other anti-democratic practices.

Henry Giroux, McMaster University

I first knew Michael A. Peters over 20 years ago when he was a young and talented academic with an office down the corridor. I now watch with amazement as he bestrides the world stage, with a sure-footed analysis of global affairs. With his deep understanding and remaking of poststructural theories, it seems nothing is beyond his analytical grasp. This collection of lectures and writings covers a vast spectrum: from the nature of terrorism(s) to a critique of the staleness of philosophy divorced from the practical concerns of humanity. At all times his writing spans two intertwined themes: a strong rejection of the "financialization" of everything including democracy and human freedom, and optimism that through education, we can begin to articulate a humane cultural discourse for the future. Peters' optimism, that solutions can be found to our current condition, permeates all his work, even the difficult subjects of terrorism and war. I always learn a lot when reading Peters, and I always come away thinking that a better world is possible.

Liz Gordon, University of Canterbury

With the publication of Citizenship, Human Rights and Identity: Prospects of a Liberal Cosmopolitan Order, Michael Peters joins the ranks of leading scholars such as David Harvey and Arjun Appadurai in posing searching questions to the flat utopic promises of neoliberal cosmopolitanism. The writing here is crisp, trenchant and always insightful. With respect to the sustained demonstration of critical, reflexive and theoretically-grounded pragmatic thought, Professor Peters has very few peers in the educational field. Citizenship, Human Rights and Identity: Prospects of a Liberal Cosmopolitan Order is an exemplary text chock full of poignant insights on the contemporary challenges to late modern society. In this book, Peters is critical of glib panaceas. But, he evinces, in turn, an orientation to thoughtful optimism and an open-minded disposition to dialogue and genuine intellectual engagement.

Cameron McCarthy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Peters' lucid examination of the liberal cosmopolitan order and its adaptability to current historical contexts is both provocative and erudite and has important implications for the creation of the commonwealth at this time of profound ecological and economic crisis.

Peter McLaren, University of California-Los Angeles

Professor Michael A. Peters' new book is an impressively original, extremely widely researched, well-argued and scholarly intervention in ongoing debates concerning potentialities and limits of liberal political thought. It is informed by a striking grasp of a range of different theoretical and historical standpoints, spanning amongst other things, postmodernism, Critical Theory and deconstruction. The book reaches beyond philosophy to draw in sociology and cultural theory, and successfully introduces a valuable variety of ideas and sensibilities that enlarge thinking about citizenship, freedom and peace. It will prove indispensable to academics and students of all related disciplines.

Marianna Papastephanou, University of Cyprus

Once again Michael A. Peters has produced a book peppered with insights on a topic of the utmost contemporary importance. Set within a solid philosophico-theoretical foundation, this is a timely and crystal-clear consideration of the prospects for a progressive cosmopolitanism at a time of financialization-driven economic crisis, institutional reconfiguration, and geopolitical uncertainty. Bridging topics as diverse as identity, citizenship, globalization, postcolonialism and consumer culture, it outstrips anything recent by Zizek, Badiou, and Ranciere. Buy this book and read it--now!

James Reveley, University of Wollongong

This book covers a great deal of ground, coherently and cogently arguing for a thoroughgoing rethinking of our basic starting points when considering the point and purpose of higher education and its roll in what the author has aptly termed "communicative global governmentality." Peters asks us to consider, among other things, the deep and entangled roots of our ideas about globalization in the Kantian ideal of universal hospitality and world citizenship, the economic cosmopolitanism of Hayek and Friedman, and its neoliberal progeny, 17th and 18th-century political economy and in relation to thinking in moral philosophy, the possibilities and limits of ethical and social education after Auschwitz, the meaning of Lyotard's turn to philosophy after his rupture with Marxism, Heidegger's anti-humanism and Derrida's proposal for a New Humanities, and the precarious position of the nation-state in an aged of postmodern terrorism. Firmly grounded in a concrete attempt to address the very real challenges facing education in the broadest sense and humanist concerns in particular, Peters brings complex and abstruse philosophical notions down to earth and puts them to back to work to help us better understand how we can begin rethinking education for citizenship in an age of what Hardt and Negri term "Empire." The problematization of the idea of Europe, culminating in an interpretation of the idea as a promise inextricably tied to its humanist legacy and placing a moral demand on us to strengthen the natural bond between education and human value is convincing and even inspiring. The weaving of philosophical treatises, government policy documents, personal reflections, historical record, economic theory and political analysis into a solid fabric of thoughtful engagement with practical problems constitutes an argument in itself for the value of Bildung.

Sharon Rider, Uppsala University

With interest growing around the world in issues of identity, culture and citizenship in educational settings, this is a very timely book that brings together a large number of thought-provoking papers on the prospects of a liberal cosmopolitan order. These papers examine some very old philosophical questions about such concepts as rights, democracy and emancipation, but do so in manner that locates them within the context of contemporary economic, political and cultural imperatives.

Fazal Rizvi, University of Melbourne

This volume prompts us to think again about questions of citizenship, ethics and education in the 21st century. The theoretical scope of Peters' work is matched by few other scholars. In these pages, readers are invited to critically engage the ideas of Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Adorno, Habermas, Foucault, Derrida, Lyotard, Agamben, Fukuyama, and Rorty, among others. On this eclectic philosophical platform, Peters builds a comprehensive critique of some of the key assumptions underpinning appeals to a liberal cosmopolitan political order. This book provides a valuable reference point for all who wish to consider the fate of freedom, human rights and democracy in the contemporary world.

Peter Roberts, University of Canterbury

In this characteristically lively discussion, Michael Peters takes the reader on a disturbing tour through the contemporary political landscape, in which the light cast by a range of political philosophers is recurrently obscured by the iniquities of deregulated capitalism. Europe's current economic crisis, and the monetarist response it has engendered, is taken as an exemplary failure of nerve regarding the possibilities of a cosmopolitan democratic politics. The critical approach the book advances, which is shaped by a Foucauldian notion of problematization, exposes the vacuousness and hypocrisy in the moralistic stances commonly adopted by contemporary liberal governments. It seeks a renewal of democracy in which progress is to be achieved not through reliance on "expert" advice but through acceptance of responsibility for the moral and political substance of the societies we inhabit. A political education is envisaged that exposes the operation of power but also addresses the moral and legal forms, the institutions and the values, of those societies, in their actuality and possibility.

Paul Standish, University of London

In this timely book Michael A. Peters, leading educational philosopher, in usual probing, erudite and delicate style reconsiders cosmopolitanism and the notion of global citizenship in relation to education and human rights, in particular their juridical reconstruction as a basis for equality and a new welfare knowledge society. His skeptical and expansive philosophical approach informed by the seminal ideas of Foucault, Derrida and Agamben makes this book distinctive as he produces a rare disruptive work in the quest of an authentic cosmopolitan order. It is his enigmatic treatment of the liberal notions of peace and development together with contemporary forms of cosmopolitanism--moral, political and economic--that makes this work one of the most dynamic, lucid and inspiring texts on citizenship in relation to human rights, education and cosmopolitanism in existence today.

Yusef Waghid, University of Stellenbosch

By taking classic concepts of citizenship, human rights and identity and examining those in light of modern trends, such as globalization and democratization, this book offers striking insights on new paradigms of cosmopolitan orders. Through interdisciplinary approaches, Peters interlaces political and social notions of citizenship, with theories of education, philosophy, political economy and their interrelation in the 21st century, hence revealing the complex underlying structures of citizenship in the context of modern societies. Most recently, against the backdrop of the Arab Spring and the impending "exit strategies" of the West from the Middle East, it becomes obvious how relevant these considerations of new manifestations of citizenship, identity and human rights are, and how broad the spectrum of discourse is that these considerations can--and should--inspire. The vision of a liberal cosmopolitical order will be highly relevant not only for political but also for educational and organizational strategies of the future. As this insightful book gives a framework for possible policy futures at the macro, meso and micro level of future creation, I highly recommend it for any reader interested in political philosophy in education, social studies and social sciences.

Susanne Maria Weber, Philipps University of Marburg
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Publication:Economics, Management, and Financial Markets
Article Type:Book review
Date:Sep 1, 2017
Next Article:Liber amicorum: A Philosophical Conversation amoung Friends: A Festschrift for Michael A. Peters.

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