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Engaging globalization: critical theory and global political change.

Globalization implies global social and political change. Irrespective of whether one identifies globalization as primarily driven by economics or as a cultural phenomenon occurring in the context of technological change and a transformation of lifestyles, it is now clear that the social sciences face the challenge of somehow 'making sense of it." The study of international relations, it could be argued, has been complicated by this challenge, and as a result it begins to reach out in a more interdisciplinary manner, including an opening to more sociologically informed research agendas.

Approaches in international relations associated with various forms of critical theory have especially put forward theoretical work, sometimes accompanied by empirical findings, with which to assess and substantiate the nature, quality, and scope of social change in the era of globalization (whether this is understood as an ideology, masking trends that have essentially always accompanied the expansion of modern capitalism, or whether it is seen as something qualitatively new).

In the IR discipline, the term critical theory has become a shorthand reference for a variety of attempts to break with the molds of theorizing presented by the dominant strands of realism/neorealism, or liberalism/neoliberalism. Thus, it has come to represent the commentary from the margins of the discipline in manifestations as diverse as neo-Gramscian readings, reformulations of Marxist theory, the spectrum of feminist challenges, poststructuralist inquiries, and the theoretical work originating with the Frankfurt school. (1) Although the affinities among these strands of theorizing from the margins have frequently been stressed, (2) there remain serious disagreements over core issues of "theorising with a critical motive," which typically revolve around the claims that critical theorists make for their projects.

From among the plurality of critical interventions, Andrew Linklater's appropriation of the reformulated approach of Frankfurt school critical theory--mainly as developed in the work of Jurgen Habermas--has made the most consistent bid for integrating the widest possible range of critical concerns into a more unified version of critical theory for international relations. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this gesture of embrace--still evident in Linklater's Transformation of Political Community (3) -- has invited the "embraced" themselves to reassert their positions with reference to the theoretical suggestions of the "embracer." More often than not, the response to Linklater's inclusiveness has been to question the validity of core elements of his theory.

In what follows, I want to engage with some of these criticisms insofar as they continue, as I see it, to misconstrue Habermas's grounding of normative theory and criteriology, which he advances through his conception of the discourse-ethical model of norm validation. These misconstruals, I argue, arise in part from the way in which Linklater himself integrates discourse ethics into his theory with emancipatory intent. Following this reconstruction of the potential of the discourse-ethical conception of norm validation for international-relations theory, I focus on what I perceive to be at the core of Habermas's critical project, the dialectic of lifeworld and systems, with a focus on its applicability in international-relations theory. Here, I take into account recent trends toward developing functionalist accounts of integration for the further study of globalization. (4) In my final section, I consider some issues on which Habermas's theory appears insufficiently refined and suggest them as items for furth er investigation.

The purpose of this investigation is to underline the relevance of critical theory for attempts to make sense of the globalization challenge. If political community and social bonds are undergoing significant changes, the self-conscious approach to theorizing social life and political authority from a critical perspective that avoids classification in either classical liberal or republican terms promises a more thorough understanding than approaches that remain couched in a conceptual language that is today challenged by actual change.

Linklater, Cosmopolitanism, and International/Global Political Theory

As theory with an emancipatory intent, Linklater's version of critical theory has been put on the defensive from a rather wide spectrum of differing positions. These criticisms issue broadly from three camps. First, a Hegelian-inspired neo-Aristotelian retrieval of the normative primacy of the "ethical life" of bounded communities, which, it is argued, debunks the myth of universal principles by unmasking their substantial commitment to the dissolution of cultural particularity. (5) Here, a focus is on the ethical practices of social life, which, it is argued, become devalued in the light of the critical gaze of deontological reasoning. (6) Second, from the poststructuralist background inspired by Nietzsche, Foucault, Derrida, and Levinas, in which the joie de soi, or the irreducibly ephemeral nature of the encounter of alterity, is conceived to engender an ethics of resistance to "subjectivication." (7) Third, challenges are voiced from reformulations of historical materialism, where the issue of a transform ation led by cultural factors such as the moral learning of humanity is seen to be structurally inhibited until such time as the material circumstances of the systematically disadvantaged masses have been transformed so as to make a transition to a moral society possible. (8)

Critical Injunctions

The third group disputes the cogency of the Habermasian reconstruction of historical materialism that Habermas advances from the point of view of the "linguistic turn." On such a reading, the new Frankfurt school abandons Marx's insights into the necessity of change in the relations of production en route to the just society. This stance, in turn, however, is plausible only within a conception of a philosophy of history already abandoned by the early Frankfurt school in their engagement with the intellectual heritage of Hegel. The classical Marxist notion of humankind as a "species-subject" that generates itself practically out of the instrumentalization of the natural environment has become problematic, not the least due to its naturalistic conception of emancipation. (9) This mode of theorizing, which, in Habermas's view, still reverberates in the theoretical work of the early Frankfurt school, resulted in the latter's identification of reason with instrumental reason and, thus, to the aporia of a critical theory without any prospect for social emancipation. (10)

Habermas identifies communicative reason as a distinct form of interaction that circumscribes significant nonstrategic (11) practices of intersubjectivity. In refocusing critical theory in this way, Habermas presents an account of emancipatory social action as an alternative to the classical Marxist conception of the coincidence of theory and practice in the generation of revolutionary consciousness coming out of the experience of exploitation under capitalism. The insights of historical materialist analysis, however, continue to form an important component of critical interventions into the dynamics and contradictions of current transformations of social, political, and economic life. Despite Habermas's self-conscious conception of the discourse-ethical foundation of the legitimacy of norms as open and purely procedural, his account of the democratic conditions of legitimacy includes, albeit in a relative conception, the dimension of "basic rights to the provision of living conditions that are socially, tech nologically and ecologically safeguarded, insofar as the current circumstances make this necessary if citizens are to have equal opportunities to utilise civil rights." (12) This attests to a revised conception of the Marxist ideal of social justice in Habermas s work, although he approaches this ideal from a far more circumspect angle with regards to its normative implications.

More problematic than the (classical) Marxist deferential treatment of the significance of normative issues in social and political change are the charges leveled at the discourse-ethical model from positions that dispute the possibility of its universalist moral intent. Both neo-Aristotelian and poststructuralist criticisms of discourse ethics incorporate such claims, (13) albeit from within different frames of reference.

The genealogical approach of poststructuralism focuses on the power relations that pervade both individuation--the formation of the self--and socialization constitutively. In keeping with the life-force ethics already known from Nietzsche, and in distinction from its grand theory adaptation in Sartre's existentialism, the Foucauldian conception of "human freedom" (14) requires a radical departure from the fallacies of subjectivism of modern liberal political philosophy. The antimetaphysical intent of structuralism and its embrace of the "political" as the practice of human freedom. in constant transgression of identity as fixed, grounded, or in other "objectifying" ways circumscribed is seen to engender a mode of political engagement in the encounter with alterity that defies the universalist attempts to essentialize in any way what commands moral respect (natural rights, human equality, the transcendental subject). Thus, a concern with the legislative stance of modern political philosophy and the perils of e ssentializing once and for all what is to engender duties among human beings is clear in poststructuralist conceptions of human freedom.

Linklater's Critical IR Theory: Between Habermas and the Critics

Linklater engages with these critical injunctions against a critical theory with emancipatory intent and a cosmopolitan outlook in his recent work by restating the distinct way in which the second generation Frankfurt school justifies and commends normative theory. He takes as a guiding argument Richard Rorty's assertion about the radical groundlessness of the human condition that binds the normative background of political society firmly to the value systems of communities. (15) In Rorty's opinion, the attempt to think reflexivity, the pulse of social learning by critically engaging with the social and political order one lives in, as bearing the mark of a universal potential is to misapprehend the factual contextuality and contingency of the respective universalist aspirations of particular collectively shared conceptions of such goods.

From the neo-Kantian position that Linklater advocates, Rorty's diagnosis of the transcultural hubris of cosmopolitanism can be read along parallel lines to the critique of Kant by Hegel. Stressing the importance of the emergence of the entrenched notion of individual freedom in contrast to the limited Aristotelian doctrine of freedom as self-realization in the polis, Hegel regards the "outbreak of morality" that fueled the liberation of the subject as capable of being sublated in the substantial "ethical life" of the modern Prussian state, for instance. (16) If such a stance is taken to comprise the Hegelian position--pace the misreading of Hegel it involves--then the framework for normative theory generated out of the choice of an epistemological relativism as the point of departure for this purpose remains conventionalist. This means that scope, manner, and justification for moral action in the community remain within the confines of the interpretive means provided by its shared cultural traditions.

As Linklater notes, such an account is inadequate with reference to the critical reflection of the moral practices of the community, which always already arises where the disciplining force of the conventionalized ethical life is confronted with the critical inquest of morality. (17) To be sure, Rorty's response would be that it is precisely something like the commitment to a universalist discourse of justice that is so particular of the Western liberal world. But this, in addition to almost certainly being empirically false, in turn fails to grasp what possible motive there could be--and how to evaluate it--for a conventionalist ethics to problematize itself to such a degree as to open itself up for critical self-reflection through abstract inquiry. The governability of entrenched power structures that are experienced as naturalized by those governed in a society is obviously much higher in cases where an administrative apparatus must respond to the continuous scrutiny of its members--even if such responses are mainly strategically motivated. The tension that is thus opened between conventionalist accounts of social integration and the social-justice-driven postconventional critique in the spirit of Kant is at the heart of what is at issue between critical theory and its discontents.

The conventionalist mode of integration sustains the regulation of social and political affairs through the traditionally secured codes and practices that are both constitutive of the emancipatory horizon and the unquestioned standards of conduct in situations of practical action. (18) As habituated rules and codes of conduct, they become problematized only in situations in which new and previously unanticipated problems occur, according to which new claims can be made intelligible as addressed toward the entrenched conceptions of the ethical life. Classically, this can occur in the form of conflicts that entail either the development of the merging of conventional horizons19 or the appropriation and transformation by one set of conventional ethics of the other (as in classical conquest).

The other way in which the problematization of the ethical life can be realized is through the critique of the entrenched according to the universal, as is the approach of deontic inquests into morality. (20) This latter mode, however, produces a split between the day-to-day requirements of the ethical life of the lifeworld and the realm of reasoned and argumentatively secured norms as universally valid basis for just laws, as the background of the philosophical proof of validity. This juncture, on which the distinction between values and norms turns, (21) refers to the complementarity of the respective prerogatives of morality and the substantive ethical life. Norms qua the status of the validity claims that they command as norms require that they be affirmed in a noncircular fashion that is argumentatively (22) retrievable and thus intelligible to all for whose affairs they are deemed in any way valid. (23)

It is easy to see how such an account of normative frameworks that focuses in the manner of neo-Kantian political philosophy on the generalized other, rather than concrete others, raises the criticisms of its undue force toward universal homogenization. (24) Such criticism is widespread in political theory, usually with reference to struggles for recognition within avowedly liberal states and to issues of multiculturalism and patterns of exclusion. It is, to be sure, even more relevant in the area of international relations, where patterns of hierarchization, exclusion, and cultural incompatibility provide evidence of tangible struggles in which difference often plays a key role. (25) Thus, the approach of the poststructuralist critics of late Frankfurt school critical theory is frequently to charge its universalist outlook with a coercive disregard for difference.

Linklater's interpretation of Habermas's discourse ethics from the perspective of IR theory has to some extent helped to reproduce this image of the discourse ethics as insensitive to difference in an oppressive manner, which would denigrate its emancipatory pretences.

Some Issues Between Linklater and Habermas

The transmission link from theory to praxis that Linklater constructs in his Transformation too easily lets the discourse-ethical conception of valid norms translate to the realm of the day-to-day practices of substantial ethical life--what Apel calls the "application oriented" context--in order to demonstrate the crucial role of an ethics of responsibility that mediates between the demands of the discourse ethics and the practical discourses of day-to-day life (the latter incorporating strategic and instrumental action). The relationship between the discourse ethics and the realm of substantial problems in the ethical life is thus understood in terms of the relationship of morality and ethical life as laid out and criticized by Hegel. At the same time, however, the defense of critical theory must incorporate a post-Kantian stance on the relationship between the two, and dismiss Hegel's privileging of the actual over the abstract as results from his critique of Kantian formalism.

Insofar as Linklater seems to assume, to some extent with Kant, that universally valid norms can be translated back into substantive virtue ethics, (26) the intent of Habermas's discourse ethics and conception of radical democracy becomes misrepresented. The ethics of substantive interests (as opposed to interests in the truth and validity of universally applicable norms in the context of problems of justice) needs to be conceived of as a problem of a different order--one in its own right, with, however, grounding linkages to the discourse-ethically-secured background. Habermas's concern is with the practices necessary for the grounding of norms that can ensure the legitimacy of a legal order, of which citizens are both authors and subjects. The task of the discourse-ethical conception of morality must thus be understood to provide constraints in the sense of a constitutional order for both the generation of legitimate law as expression of self-governance and the situated practical requirements of the ethical life.

Linklater pays insufficient attention to this distinction between the discourse-ethically-secured constitutional constraints and dialogic practices where the generalized other is simply not the topos. As a result, Linklater's dialogic community appears in his account frequently as equally concerned with questions of the good life, on the one hand, and questions of justice, on the other. (27) Although he concludes that the task is to "strike an appropriate balance between universality and difference," (28) it remains unclear precisely how this balance is to be achieved if it is to be advanced in the medium of the discourse ethics that requires the orientation to generalizable interest in the first place. If critical theory in international relations constructed along the lines of discourse ethics is to remain sensitive to difference--as it should--then the self-imposed limitations of normative critique in terms of justice that Habermas and Apel present need to be heeded more carefully. This would complicate as sessments of critical theory such as that forwarded by Beate Jahn. (29)

In what is perhaps one of the most thorough inquiries into critical theory in international relations, Jahn suggests that one could have learned from Horkheimer that "the holistic" and "historical" analysis that makes theory critical can be had only if one prevents "the interference of values in theoretical analysis." But her injunctions against the ethical universalism of critical theory, which she criticizes with reference to its thick indebtedness to liberal idealism and to the injuries that the Western tradition of political thought and practice has inflicted upon particularity, remain at root committed to the conventionalist approach at which Habermasian discourse ethics is addressed and against which it raises much stronger points than Jahn permits herself to discuss.

In the context of these observations, it is now less clear whether the concerns raised by poststructuralist critics are, in fact, cogent with reference to the discourse-ethical principle that Habermas employs in his theory construction. (30) The charge that the discourse-ethical approach to grounding critical discourse is indebted to the "metaphysics of the philosophy of the subject," (31) for one, misses the point of the pervasive departure from just this framework in Habermas's turn to intersubjectivity, as well as a carefully crafted account of autonomy that does not rely on a Kantian account of "unencumbered selves." In fact, much of Habermas's attentiveness to the pitfalls of the metaphysic of the subject can be found in his critical engagement with his predecessors (particularly Adorno), whose indictment of the "reason" of modernity as the to-talization of instrumental rationality lead to aesthetico-political stances not dissimilar to some of Foucault's. (32) Equally misleading is the charge that discou rse ethicists are necessarily committed to a substantial "particular framework," (33) a charge that poststructuralists share with neo-Aristotelians. The discourse-ethical conception of morality advanced by Habermas and Apel is grounded only in the presuppositions that are present whenever and wherever "communication" is possible. The lesson learned from the pragmatists--especially C. S. Peirce--is that the conditions for mutual understanding (Verstaendingung) are always already anticipated by both speaker and listener, in an ideal fashion. But in Habermas's and Apel's discourse ethics, this communication-immanent constraint is seen to generate only procedural constraints for argumentative practice, and only in the realm of discourse directed at the argumentative derivation of norms--that is "theoretical," not "practical," discourses. (34)

The only substantive standard in play is the imperative to avoid performative contradictions in the form, for instance, of an argument that rejects the validity of argumentation. Questions for which we should expect discourse-ethically derived answers would be, for instance, those of what kinds of laws we would regard as just, which constitutional arrangements in emerging global governance are biased or discriminatory, or what forms of exclusion/inclusion shape the scope and outcomes of agreements. The injunction that discourse ethics operates with a utopian content by relying on the notion of noncoerced consensus in an ideal communication community is not problematic, once it is realized that this serves only as a regulative ideal in the same way as only generally shared assumptions about truth-telling make the lie a possibly successful inter-subjective strategy.

Where the discourse-ethical approach does rely on a more salient modern conception of reason based on argumentative validation--and where neo-Aristotelian critics sense its subversive potential--is in its insistence on a "post-conventional" conception of morality, for reasons alluded to above.

Critical Theory and Globalization:

Lifeworld and Systems Integration

Equipped with the discourse-ethical conception of morality, the following question: How can the universally expected counterfactual ideal discourse community of humanity be seen to institute itself in the context of other more practical integration trends?

We get a theoretical construct that allows us to talk, for instance, of the principles underpinning the practices of international law in a universalist sense and that provides the justification of immanent critique, but that needs to be connected with problems created outside its remit. Because the radical democratic principle of substantive participation according to quod omnes tangit remains an ideal, the possible critical commentary on systems-integrative aspects of globalization (formalization of traditional economies, reification, alienation, and compartmentalization, particularly observable in development contexts) remains of limited impact.

From the position sketched as the foundation of critical theory, with its minimal and nonsubstantive normative principle as grounded in the ever-present ideal discourse community the task is thus to grasp the integrationist trajectories at a transnational level by critically reconstructing the forms of social and political integration through which they become constitutive of world society, or global society. So far, the globalization discourse has generally argued for something like a world society to come about in the context of the global extension of relations of trade in the goods and services and the increasingly globally constituted division of labor. This view is sustained by the analogy with social integration at the level of the nation-State--an analogy that draws, for its normative implications, on either Durkheim or Weber. Alternatively, the focus has been on the politically problematic constellation of the expansion of economic activity at the expense of forms of political control (loss of sovere ignty, but also loss of state capacity in offsetting consequences of market failure or providing adaptive space for restructuring in the light of shifting targets in economic development).

Habermasian critical theory provides an outlook on these phenomena insofar as it raises to theoretical attention the discreet constitutive contributions to social integration of communicative reason and its mode of furnishing the lifeworld of the practitioners and participants of the discourse of society. The groundedness of the array of social practices conceptualized as the lifeworld, in which the ethical dimension is inextricably linked to the development of ontogenesis and phylogenesis, (35) affirms its significance as provider of the conditions of a normative framework against which social practice is legitimized. The aspects of the ethical life of the lifeworld thus play a crucial role in providing the framework of moral-practical learning through which questions of morality can arise in the first place.

Equally, however, and in its most basic form reminiscent of Hegel's treatment of the social importance of habituated social action, (36) critical theory provides a critical angle on what is otherwise characterized as the practices of depoliticization. (37) However, insofar as Habermas concedes to the functionalist account of systems integration the fact that social action can be seen to display the characteristics of autopoetic systems, (38) in that within these limits "resistance is futile," Jahn's point that critical theory relinquishes politics seems justified. Yet this is only a point against a totalization of the systems-theoretical model, since the concern that Habermas has with functionalism is precisely to show that the pragmatic delimitation of spheres of social action relies on the meaning-constitutive and legitimacy conferring communicative practices of the lifeworld.

Identifying two crucial steering media in social integration (money and power), Habermas develops this dialectic of the base provisions of social integration in the lifeworld and the operationalization via steering media of systems-integration that "insulate" the areas of social action in accordance with the requirements of stabilizing system-immanent modes of action.

These functionally determined social-action complexes are characterized by the hermetic operative closure that regulates and predetermines the range of permissible and operationally benign action-interventions. Thus, in this context, agents appear no longer as persons or autonomous individuals but as functionally defined roles in that their position and function within the web of the system prescribes scope, direction, and possible effects of their action within it.

Organisation requires the total independence of its Members from the "binding background" of the old world and from their own roles. Where such bonds persist, they now occur us corruption. Autopoetic organisation systems are able to compensate for the losses in authority which inevitably accompany the transition of society from stratification to functional differentiation, when the population becomes more widely literate and provided with printed materials, and when the old "economic" order of the households becomes transformed into the modern intimate nuclear family. (39)

For the institutionalization and organization of global economic integration, this means that what is termed as a new constitutionalism (40) can be deciphered as a convergence of organizational system-imperatives oriented toward growth in steering capacity through capital accumulation that is set forth from the context of nation-states to the domain of the global. The result of this approach to integration is that it dispenses completely with the traditional notion of society (and thus of world society as a bounded community), because it treats the conventional conceptualization of society as nothing more than an evolutionary precondition of the form of systemic differentiation that occurs through the setting forth of operative structures of organization.

The Systems of Systems Theory

Crucially, the notion of social systems implied here originates from the adaptation of general systems theory (41) to the study of sociology, in the first instance by Parsons, following from his reevaluation of Durkheim's insights and critique of Weber's conception of social integration as secured only through the institution of legitimized violence. This adaptation of systems theory undergoes a further transformation with its integration with the linguistic turn in philosophy and social studies. Luhmann's appropriation of the systems-theoretic approach under the conceptually unifying angle of intra- and intersystemic communications notably pursues this line and gives it a radical twist.

To Luhmann, systems theory in its language-philosophical transformation can, on the one hand, overcome the philosophical embarrassments left by the paradigmatic status of subject-identity for modern conceptions of the self, (42) as well as, on the other hand, provide the most adequate depiction of social integration under conditions of fragmentation and the transformation of social and political space. By focusing on communication as the mode of interaction in systems integration, Luhmann also avoids materialistic reductions in the explanation of the capacity of systems to organize themselves in a way that guarantees the parameters of their continuous integrity. In his parlance, systems become autopoietic, self-maintaining, with reference to their borders as well as the exchanges that they permit with the general systems environment and other subsystems.

In Luhmann's analysis, and here he becomes interesting for IR theory, the conditions of society are no longer tied up with territorial notions of boundedness, privileged essentializations of cultural values, as in humanist conceptions of social integration. Nor can they be seen to be observable from the point of view of the individual, as in the classical formulations of liberal political theory. Any notion of transcendence, which since Kant has been tied to the subject's capacity for apperception, migrates into the sphere of the social system, which will henceforth be understood as differentiating out of itself increasingly complex sets of subsystems. Unlike Wallerstein's world-systems theory, which still analyzes the conceptual hegemony of expanding capitalism as a pervasive systems-integrative force and thus remains within the framework of reformulated Marxist theories of the critique of political economy, (43) Luhmann's account refuses causal--teleological arguments--motivated perhaps by emancipatory aspi rations--and focuses, instead, on a nonteleological evolutionary account of the differentiation of social action into media-steered communicatively constituted systems that regulate themselves in accordance with the demands for stabilization guaranteeing interaction.

This conception of social systems reaches through the core architecture of classical international-relations theory in that it problematizes both the persistent notion of territorially defined sovereignty as the autonomy of states in an international system as well as attempts to conceptualize emerging global governance by extending the institutions of the nation-state to the global level. Because functionally differentiated systems reproduce the mode and scope of their integrity-maintaining communications within themselves, their integrative potential does not rely on any provisions that have to be brought from outside. In terms of the analysis of global governance, systemic imperatives would thus be seen to command the establishment of system-environment distinctions at the global level. According to this distinction, domains of social action--such as in the economic system--are then operationally integrated and regulated in accordance with the system's maintenance needs.

This depiction of social systems and their integrity-maintaining autopoiesis provides an explanatory framework for the immunization of action spheres from the reach of, for instance, political interventions--at least those types of interventions that may endanger the core integrity of the system in question (44) (from the systems-theoretical standpoint these are of course not interventions at all). To put it practically, the systems-theoretical approach thus conceived provides explanations and analytical tools for understanding the "absence of alternatives" problem in political thought. (45) Spheres of social action that are communicatively constituted operate in a self-contained manner according to rules that reduce complexity. Economic activity, for instance, has to be seen as comprised by a system of social actions that reduces the complexities entailed to questions of distribution, motivation, and myriad others by means of the steering medium of money.

This outlook on integration reflects themes known to neoGramscian forms of IR theory, and particularly to those who have concerned themselves with the problems of "trasformismo." But the systems-theoretic intent deprives the account of integration and exclusion of its critical sting. Modern systems theory permits no privileged position from which and on behalf of which such criticism could be directed at systems from their "outside." Instead, systems relate to their--overcomplex--environment by observation and by the system-immanent communicative appropriation of information gained through observation. This insures that systems can learn, in the sense that they can adapt through variation and internal differentiation to possible threats to their integrity from outside. This adaptive stance toward disturbances carried over from the environment does not involve, as in constructivism, (46) a conception of agents in the classical sense, who interact with structure. Rather, structure emerges contingently from the coordinations of integrated systems and their differentiation in the context of systems of organization. (47) Equally, any account of human development that may rest on emancipatory premises is blocked. Because the systemic imperative is self-maintenance, the communications permitted and structured by the systems' observation of their environment and the environment that they constitute for each other among themselves are necessarily conservative.

Behind the attempt to justify the reduction of world complexity as the ultimate point of reference for social-scientific functionalism is concealed an un-admitted obligation of theory to pose problems in a way that conforms to domination, to serve as an apologetic for what exists in order to maintain its existence. (48)

Applied to political thought, such an understanding of social reality immediately frustrates the bulk of political theory that is concerned with attempting to make social action more responsive to the politics of active citizenship. Instead, the political system itself is seen to reduce the complexities of making decisions about society--which republicans would place with the citizens in an invigorated public sphere (49) -- to sets of functional elements that guarantee that decision-making occurs and is recognized in its legality. This functionalist view of the political system is reflected, for instance, in the democratic theories of Schumpeter and Dahl. (50)

Crucially, from the decentered perspective that Luhmann ascribes to the systems-theoretic approach as the only one that can adequately represent the reality of modern social life, the question of legitimacy cannot arise as such any more. Because the functional efficiency of social systems governs their communication and their observation of their environment with reference to their adaptive modifications, the scope of normative inquiry is exhausted with noticing the imperatives that are integral to systems maintenance. From such a perspective, it is clear that the practice of interventions, such as critique or "antisystemic" actions and communications cannot affect systemic integrity. Either they remain insignificant because they cannot affect the communications that constitute the social-action context within the system (anticapitalist protest fails to impact on the function that wage labor fulfils in the maintenance of the capitalist economic system), or they become part of the process of structural couplin g, (51) the systems-reflexive appropriation of the environment (which an agent-centered approach would decipher as co-optation).

Systems Theory and Globalization

Transposed onto conceptions of globalization, the picture of systemic integration that emerges from the Luhmannian account would suggest that the story needs to be told in terms that differ from those generally offered in theories of international relations. Social systems can obviously no longer be contained within the conceptual shell of the sovereign nation. Neither can society, for that matter, as Albert has argued. (52)

Thus, globalization could be studied as the global extension of the reach of already differentiated social systems, whose differentiation is a product of the need to reduce complexities for the purpose of enabling social action within the delimited domains. (53) This shifts the focus from hierarchical accounts of world power and the entailed arguments about the dominance of sets of actors in world politics over others toward the way in which systems integration creates globally extended communicative domains that are operatively closed and functionally defined. Hypotheses about convergence in economic practice, for example, become testable in terms of the actions that are possible in a globally extended social system. Neither differences in language nor systems-extrinsic factors such as the religious beliefs of those who fulfil their roles within the global economic system--or its subsystems--are significant for the functioning of the system. Regardless of tangible differences, the social sphere of practice i s constituted for the system in terms of its "basal code," according to which exclusion/inclusion is regulated from the system's perspective. In this sense, the global economic system is an operationally closed social system whose evolution is expressed solely in terms of its increasing reach.

This also provides a perspective on the agendas for social change of which this system is often seen to be the addressee. (54) For instance, the attempts to renegotiate on "core parameters" of the economic system by exposing it to the critique inspired by the limits to growth hypothesis (55) has thus led to translations of some of the issues raised into system-conforming action patterns, as with emissions trading regimes, internalization of environmental costs, and the creation of a risk-management industry. (56)

All this suggests that one of the great insights provided by the systems-theoretic approach lies in explaining how systems organize inclusion/exclusion, maintain their boundaries, and thus how they immunize themselves against attempts to "recall" the differentiation process that called them forth. The story that thus emerges tells about the drawing of social boundaries in ways that render those of nation-state borders just one among various important others (one may think about the dependence of entitlements on inclusion). (57)

But the crucial question is of whether these insights can be developed critically--that is, with reference to providing an account that affects the story of increasing differentiation and systemic integration from the point of view of an emancipatory interest. Is "solidarity" possible under conditions of increasing complexity in the functional differentiation of social systems? The answer from the systems theorist's point of view is of course negative. Luhmann's purpose was explicitly to abandon a framework of inquiry in sociology that he perceived to be prejudiced by normative assumptions about social integration. He finds these expressed in, for instance, Durkheim's conception of "organic solidarity" or even Parsons's model of integration based on the "societal community." Consequently, the critical focus maintained by those who reassert conceptions of community or society framed in normative terms appears as a romanticizing attempt to renege on the already manifested differentiation of the modern social wo rld and, therefore, as out of kilter with the actual possibility of steering collective action from a center, be that at whatever level. (58)

This mode of theorizing abandons the normative framework with which the fragmentation of the social (59) could be criticized and instead interprets norms functionally with regard to the role they play in regulating the system/environment exchange and their boundary maintaining functions. In this form, systems theory provides a constructivist account of social action in opposition to the theoretical concerns of critical theory. It also stipulates in a revised fashion the value-freedom of social science that resolves to treat the social in terms of surfaces. The communications between the occupants of the functional roles in the system are the data for the social scientist in the same way as they are the data for the system's continuous reproduction out of communicative practice.

New Systems Theory, Critical Theory, and IR Theory

For a critical theory that is to engage with the systems-theoretical approach precisely because it in some ways offers a convincing account of the self-immunizing and boundary-maintaining properties of functionally integrated social systems, everything, of course, depends on whether the mesh of closed systems can be opened from a critical perspective in a way that leads toward a transformation. (60) The emancipatory interest of critical theory (61) demands an addressee for whom critical engagement leads to practical change in social relations and enhanced human security (62)--whether this be at the level of the individual, whose emancipation from the pervasive grasp of instrumental reason can be had only in aesthetic withdrawal; (63) the masses of those for whom the global economic order means the structural domination by small minorities; (64) or a humanity involved in exploring transfomationist conjectures about ideal communities. In all these themes, the approach of critical theory is counterfactual--in th e sense that it neither accepts the methodologically entrenched descriptions of the world of social relations as value-free, (65) intransigent, or natural (66) nor that the "facticity of the world of things as well as the human condition" necessarily confers normative impute on how things should be. (67)

Critical theory therefore reaffirms the significance of structural factors in understanding the world of the social, and cannot, as systems theory does, theorize structure as a second-order problem that occurs on the back of the "coupling" of purely functionally differentiated systems. Whereas the systems-theoretical approach permits only of a systems-immanent perspective--the observation and self-observation of the system/environment distinction--the genesis of functionally differentiated systems is viewed by the critical approach as anchored in constitutive arrangements, sustained by discourses in the medium of "ordinary language." (68) As spheres of social action, the social systems are "operatively closed off' on the basis of arrangements that cannot be comprehended from the systems-theoretical standpoint. (69)

In order to theorize this, and make it fruitful for an analysis of the problems of late-capitalist modernity, Habermas elaborates on mainly hermeneutically oriented accounts (70) of the lifeworld as the prime source of socialization in order to demonstrate and explore the dialectical tensions between functionally differentiated systems of social action and the intersubjectively constituted domain of the reproduction of meaning. Broadly speaking, Habermas regards systems integration as a second-order phenomenon that relies on the communicative structure of the lifeworld. The lifeworld enables and permits the setting forth of functionally defined systems of social action in order to stabilize and regulate certain social tasks, such as the material reproduction in the economic subsystem. It does this by providing, for instance, the normative framework, both in the sense of the necessary arrangements in the institutionalization through positive law and in the social practical-legitimization process that needs to underpin it if stability is to be sustained. Whereas the systems-theoretical approach "requires the withdrawal of normative validity claims from problematization and critique," (71) Habermas claims that its aspiration to provide totalized conception of the social world based on functionalist analysis downplays the distinct ion between different kinds of communications that are implicit in social life.

Contrary to Luhmann's consistently functional characterization of normative problems as functional problems in the wider context of system stabilization and maintenance, Habermas points to the necessity for justification as built into the very practice of communication. Since the imperatives of system self-maintenance depend on the latency of motivations and reasons for action (72)--that is, they rely on certain types of information to be precluded from influencing actors--it requires that communication must: be restricted in such a way as not to let these issues arise. Habermas can criticize this from the angle of his theory of communicative reason because it constitutes precisely the kind of distortion of communicative reason that his approach identifies. From this perspective, ordinary language appears as a resource that can secure societywide social integration, but that is under pressure by its progressive replacement with the integrative force of the abstract languages of power and money. (73)

Habermas theorizes this as the colonization of the lifeworld, where codes that are essentially different to its integrative communicative structure rule into its domain of intersubjectively constituted interaction. This reformulated theory of the reification of social relations explicates for Habermas at the same time the distinctiveness of communicative reason from modes of strategic or purposive rationality and establishes the normative directedness of all social action as constitutive. But Habermas's lifeworld concept is equally critical of competing conceptions of reading the lifeworld as the "ordinary life" of bounded community. Such a conception not only carries with it the claims of the conventionalist mode of communitarian ethics, which looks to tradition as the source of value, and therefore precludes the possibility of cosmopolitanism; it also overextends the notion of society as community in the light of those forms of social integration that systems theory demonstrates to be abstracted from tradit ional backgrounds by virtue of their integration through formal language codes (power, money). In the light of the insights of systems-theoretical insights into the functionalist force of social integration, Habermas advances his thesis of the "rationalization" of the lifeworld--in accordance with Lawrence Kohlberg's theory of the stages of moral development in individuals--and contends that social integration under conditions of increasing systemic complexity and functional differentiation requires a postconventional account of morality to ground both critique and justification of the norms in which these processes are anchored.


Even on the assumption that the Habermasian conception of the systems-lifeworld dialectic is cogent and provides an interesting as well as critical outlook on practices of globalization (such as legal harmonization and problems of legitimacy), and if the normative project of critical theory with emancipatory intent is seen as valid, there remain a number of issues.

From the perspective of normative theory, the complementary reconstruction of notions of the ethical life under conditions of postconventional social integration needs far more attention than it receives in Habermas's work. (74) From within the framework of late-Frankfurt-school critical theory, Axel Honneth's work is perhaps most geared to the need for a complementary account of the practical moral experiences in the lifeworld. (75) The problem of mediating between the demands of generalized others in the practice of legitimating norms and the world of practical discourses where ethical concerns mix with strategic, instrumental, and practical issues remains difficult and in need of attention. Equally, at the level of the prospects for criticizing globalization from a normative perspective, there remain doubts as to whether the systems-lifeworld dialectic is too roughly hewn.

Yet, in applying--if at this stage only tentatively--Habermas's conceptual apparatus to issues in emerging global society, it is possible to detect crucial fault lines denoting issues of legitimacy and legitimization, as well as transformation under the pressure to respond to crisis potentials entailed by forms of social integration that are apparently blind to destructive consequences that make themselves felt in the lifeworld, whether as patterns of exclusion/inclusion, disenfranchisement, ecological degradation, practices of disciplining and silencing, or plain material deprivation.


(1.) As reflected, for example, in the work of Robert Cox, Stephen Gill, Julian Rosenberg, Fred Halliday, Cynthia Enloe, Jean Elshtain, R. B. J. Walker, Richard Ashley, David Campbell, and Andrew Linklater.

(2.) See Richard Devetak, "Critical Theory," in Scott Burchill and Andrew Linklater, Theories of International Relations (London: Macmillan, 1996), pp. 145-179; and Linklater, "The Achievements of Critical Theory," in Steve Smith, Ken Booth, and Marysia Zalewski, International Theory: Positivism and Beyond (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996), pp. 279-298.

(3.) See Andrew Linklater, The Transformation of Political Community (Cambridge, Eng.,: Polity, 1998), esp. chaps. 2, 3.

(4.) See Mathias Albert, "Observing World Politics: Luhmann's Systems Theory and International Relations,'" Millennium 28, no. 2 (1999): 239-265.

(5.) See, for example, Chris Brown, "Cultural Diversity and International Political Theory," Review of International Studies 26, no. 2 (2000): 208. I mention the inspiration by Hegel because I think it is safe to say that none of the proponents of versions of a "neo-Aristotelian" virtue ethics would actually propose to go back behind Hegel's appreciation of "individual" freedom that he sees as a historical achievement against the background of the absolute primacy of the ethical community of the polis. See G. W. F. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991), esp. pp. 142-143; and for an illuminating discussion, see P. Franco, Hegel's Philosophy of Freedom (London: Yale UP, 1999), pp. 154-187.

(6.) This also includes feminist critiques of the privileging of discourses of justice over the ethics of care and responsibility; see, for example, ample, Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1993).

(7.) For a discussion of the relevance and limits of this, see Kimberly Hutchings, International Political Theory (London: Sage, 1999); and R. B. J. Walker's commentary in the forum on Linklater's Transformation, note 3, in Review of International Studies 25, no. 1 (1999): 139-175. The adaptation of nonnormative ethics in a Derridaen/Levinasian mode is expressed in David Campbell, National Deconstruction: Violence, Identity, and Justice in Bosnia (Minneapolis: Minnesota UP, 1998).

(8.) This is a crude representation of important work with enormous repercussions for thinking about theories of justice in international relations and for the critical reconstruction of problems to which much contemporary theory is consistently blind. See, for example, Justin Rosenberg, The Empire of Civil Society: A Critique of the Realist Theory of International Relations. (London: Verso, 1994). However, in failing to reconcile what can be salvaged of historical materialism for an account of social and political emancipation after the demise of the class agent with a more explicit account of the normative presuppositions that are essential for critiques of capitalism as exploitation, neo-Marxists weaken their cause. An example of what may be achieved by following a more open historical materialist line of inquiry can be found in Julian Saurin's paper "The Global Organisation of Disaster Triumphant," presented at the ISA convention, Chicago, February 2001.

(9.) See Habermas's reconstruction of historical materialism, particularly the critique in Knowledge and Human Interest (London: Heinemann, 1972). This, of course, also resonates throughout Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment (London: Verso, 1989), which in its depiction of the totalizing tendencies of instrumental reason decisively abandons any association with the positive undertones of Marx's more Promethean temper.

(10.) See Axel Honneth, "From Adorno to Habermas," in his The Fragmented World of the Social: Essays in Social and Political Philosophy (Albany: SUNY Press, 1995), pp. 93-120.

(11.) Habermas differentiates in this context between instrumental and strategic reason; see Habermas, Theory of Communicative Action, vol. 2: The Critique of Functionalist Reason (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1995).

(12.) Habermas, Between Facts and Norms (Cambridge, UK: Policy, 1996) p. 123.

(13.) See, for example, David Campbell, "Why Fight? Humanitarianism Principles and Post-Structuralism," Millennium 27, no. 3 (1998): 497-521, for a poststructural view of discourse ethics (esp. at 501-504); and Brown, note 5, esp. pp. 207-208, for a neo-Aristotelian view.

(14.) Campbell, note 13, p. 503.

(15.) See Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989). For a critique of Rorty's position from an angle sympathetic to critical theory, see Karl-Otto Apel, "Zurueck zur Normalitaet?" in Apel, Diskurs und Verantwortung: Das Problem des Uebergangs zur postkonventionellen Moral (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1988), pp. 370-474.

(16.) Hegel, note S, pp. 194-195. The straightforward readings of Hegel that stress that his philosophy unambiguously privileges substantial ethical life over the demands of an "empty morality" overlook the problems Hegel himself had in reconciling his affirmation of Socrates as a world-historic turning point with the prerogative of the ethical state. For a detailed discussion, see V. Hoesle, Hegel's System (Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1988), esp. pp. 471-481.

(17.) Linklater, note 3, p. 78.

(18.) This viewpoint is common to neo-Aristotelian positions (such as Alastair McIntyre, After Virtue (Notre Dame, Ind.: Notre Dame UP, 1984). It can also be discerned in Wittgensteinian accounts of "politics as practice," as in James Tully, Strange Multiplicity (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995).

(19.) This would be the preferred angle of inquiry for approaches that take their cue from a universal-hermeneutic stance like that of Gadamer; see H. G. Gadamer, Truth and Method (London: Sheed & Ward, 1989), esp. p. 438 ff. On Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics and its affinities with problems in IR theory, see Richard Shapcott, "Communicative Co-existence: Gadamer and the Interpretation of International Society," Millennium 23, no. 2 (1994), pp. 57-83. Furthermore, Gadamer's dialogic ethics offers one of the most promising approaches to questions of "the good life."

(20.) Most famously in the neo-Kantian conceptions of deontological ethics in the work of John Rawls; for a radically libertarian perspective, see Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia (Oxford: Blackwell, 1974).

(21.) Which is, of course, precisely where the communitarian conceptions of justice that are anchored for moral integration in the shared values of an ethical community contest the liberal position, which focuses on the normative requirements of individuals as autonomous subjects. See Michael Sandel's critique of Rawls's theory of justice in his Liberalism and the Limits of Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1982). For a discussion of the issues at stake between communitarians and liberals, see Honneth, note 10. Fragmented World, pp. 231-246.

(22.) On the status of argumentation in theory of discourse ethics, see Thomas Risse-Kappen's "Let's Argue: Communicative Action in World Politics," International Organisation 54, no. 1 (2000). Risse-Kappen presents Habermas's theory of communicative reason as an interesting way forward for studying international relations, but he, too, conflates distinct forms of reasoning when he suggests that the "force of the better argument" of Habermasian discourse-ethics operates in, for instance, the diplomatic setting, as well as in emerging global public spheres (see his conclusion). The openness required for the discourse-ethical validation of principles of normative integration, however, is not present as a constraint in situations where bargaining, as well as strategic communicative stances, frequently occur.

(23.) See Karl-Otto Apel, "Kann der postkantische Standpunkt der Moralitaet nocheinmal in substantielle Sittlichkeit aufgehoben werden?" in Apel, note 15, pp. 103-153.

(24.) See, for instance, Iris M. Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1990).

(25.) One may think of the advancement of what has been described as the "unification movement" (Claire Cutler, "Public Meets Private: The International Unification and Harmonization of Private International Trade Law," Global Society 13, no. 1 [1999]: 25-48) through institutions of global governance such as the World Trade Organization and ensuing struggles over the interpretation of, for instance, the concept of property. The typically liberal move to debunk the refusal of dissenters to endorse an allegedly science-driven (and thus "neutral") legitimization of property regimes as "protectionist" or "predatory," and the "culturally" framed responses as masked strategy does, of course, not refute either the intent, or the moral and political significance of the politics of difference thus expressed.

(26.) This is more or less the stance of a Gesinnungsethik (ethic of conscience) in the sense contrasted by Max Weber with the ethics of responsibility; as in Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (London: Allen & Unwin, 1930).

(27.) See Linklater, note 3, pp. 92-100. On the one hand, Linklater quotes the discourse ethics as "supporting a radical democratic ethos" in which "concrete decisions about substantive moral arguments are left to the agents themselves"; he seems to suggest that dialogue "all the way down" sustains ethical as well as morally relevant relations between agents (p. 92). A similar picture emerges with his concern to emphasize that dialogue can work through the demands of care ethics in a manner amenable to the discourse-ethical validation of norms (pp. 92-95). But insofar as this seems to open every aspect of the substantial ethical life practices to the critical scrutiny of the ideal communication community, this approach invites the criticisms of a totalizing form of rationality that aims to govern every aspect of citizens' affairs. It makes it seem as if the practices of dialogue ought always to be rational--as if, indeed, discourse ethics pervaded the realm of communication. But if, instead, the distinction m ade between discourses oriented to generalizable--and in this sense, constitutional--principles and practical discourses, the contribution of care ethics and the constitutive experiences in the realm of the ethical life are seen to feed into the constitutional discourse when agents ask each other under which shared principles they can sustain these practices.

(28.) Linklater, note 3, chap. 3.

(29.) Beate Jahn, "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Critical Theory as the Latest Edition of Liberal Idealism," Millennium 27, no. 3 (1998): 613-641.

(30.) This is not the place to engage in more a detailed defense of the discourse-ethical model: such a defense would have to incorporate a far more careful reconstruction of poststructuralist positions and critiques. Here, I can only sketch what are, in my view, crucial misapprehensions about the scope and the presuppositions of the discourse-ethical approach of Habermas and Apel.

(31.) Campbell, note 13, p. 504.

(32.) Foucault himself once referred to the fact that he had only very late discovered the earlier Frankfurt school's theories as an unfortunate circumstance. On the parallels between Adorno and Foucault, see Axel Honneth, "Foucault's Theory of Society: A Systems-theoretic Dissolution of the Dialectic of Enlightenment," in M. Kelly, ed., Critique and Power (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998); and Honneth, "Foucault and Adorno: Two Forms of the Critique of Modernity," in Honneth, note 10, Fragmented World, pp. 121-134.

(33.) Campbell, note 13, p. 504.

(34.) This, of course, identifies the much-criticized split between the post-Kantian transcendental-pragmatic conception of morality and the theories and day-to-day practices of the ethical life. But this would have to be pursued in light of the "two tier" conception of the discourse ethics that Apel advances through his conception of an "ethics of responsibility" designed to mediate between the theoretical insights from the norm-validating theoretical discourse and the requirements of practical situation-dependent applications. See Karl-Otto Apel, "Diskursethik vor der Problematik von Recht und Politik," in M. Kettner, ed., Zur Anwendung der Diskursethik in Politik, Recht und Wissenschaft (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1998).

(35.) Or the dynamics of individuation and social evolution, respectively.

(36.) Hegel, note 5. This reappears in Habermas's conception of forms of social action that are--under the premise of potential revocation--unquestioned with reference to the validity claims that may underpin them.

(37.) By virtue of providing a standard by which the constitutional arrangements underpinning habituated action frameworks can be challenged and held to account.

(38.) The notion of self-maintaining, self-reproducing social systems stems from Weber's original observation that social institutions can take on "a life of their own" (see David Held, Models of Democracy [Cambridge, Eng.: Polity, 1996], p. 157 ff.), but radicalizes this thesis into the analysis of social systems as "closed off" against each other and their environments in a way that makes them self-referential.

(39.) Niklas Luhmann, Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1999), p. 837.

(40.) See Stephen Gill, "Globalization, Market Civilisation, and Disciplinary Neoliberalism," Millennium 24, no. 3 (1998): 299-324.

(41.) See the research programs concerned with elaborating a systems theory with the intent to provide an epistemologically unified scientific theory of global explanatory reach. Initially, these projects took much heart from biological studies of organisms as systems, before the more cybernetic interests of a theoretically stricter research paradigm took hold.

(42.) Although we have seen that Habermas's concept of the lifeworld as providing the resources for normative integration through communicative rationality does not rely on Cartesian or Kantian ideals of privatist ratiocination either.

(43.) See, for instance, Immanuel Wallerstein, The Capitalist World Economy (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1979).

(44.) As would be the case for the unrealized "anti-systemic forces" to which Wallerstein accredits potentially transformist force in historical change: Wallerstein, Unthinking Social Science: The Limits of Nineteenth-century Paradigms (Cambridge, Eng.: Polity, 1991).

(45.) The (Thatcherite) phrase "There Is No Alternative" circumscribes a political attitude that professes the development of modern society to follow a quasi-naturalistic logic of differentiation that requires for its stability the relinquishing of radical political aspirations in favor of systems stabilizing adaptations.

(46.) See Alexander Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999).

(47.) See Albert, note 4, and Luhmann, note 39.

(48.) Luhmann, quoted in Thomas McCarthy, The Critical Theory of Jurgen Habermas (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1978), p. 228.

(49.) Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago: Chicago UP, 1973), p. 170.

(50.) Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (London: Allen & Unwin, 1976); and Robert A. Dahl, A Preface to Democratic Theory (Chicago: Chicago UP, 1956); and see C. B. MacPherson, The Real World of Democracy (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1965).

(51.) Luhmann, note 39; see also Albert, note 4, p. 249.

(52.) Albert, note 4, p. 252.

(53.) Habermas, Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (Cambridge, Eng.: Polity, 1989), pp. 172-173.

(54.) See, for example, the literature on new global social movements; also that on the globalization/democratization debate: see David Field and Anthony McGrew, "The End of the Old Order? Globalization and the Prospects for World Order," Review of International Studies 24 (1998).

(55.) See, for example, E. U. von Weizaecker and the notion of a Weltinnenpolitik (global domestic politics) in Weizsaecker, Lovins, and Lovins, Factor Four: Doubling Wealth--Halving Resource Use (London: Earthscan, 1997).

(56.) Ulrich Beck, Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity (London: Sage, 1993).

(57.) See Albert's discussion of the favela in Albert, note 4, p. 257.

(58.) This must be read as an injunction against prospects for "global democracy" (as formulated cogently in relation to critical theory by David Held, Democracy and the Global Order: From the Modern State to Cosmopolitan Governance [Cambridge, 1995]).

(59.) See Honneth, note 10, Fragmented World, esp. pp. 247-260.

(60.) Linklater, note 3.

(61.) Cox, Linklater, but also the earlier generation--particularly including Marcuse and Benjamin.

(62.) Linklater, note 3.

(63.) Theodor Adorno, Negative Dialectics (London: Routledge, 1987).

(64.) Robert Cox, Approaches to World Order (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996).

(65.) Cox, note 63, p. 88.

(66.) In the sense that this term is used in theories of the social contract, for instance.

(67.) Herbert Marcuse, "Philosophie und Kritische Theorie," Zeitschrift fuer Sozialforschung 6 (1937): 632 ff.

(68.) See Habermas, note 12.

(69.) Habermas, note 11, pp. 153-203.

(70.) Alfred Schutz and Thomas Luckmann, Structures of the Lifeworld (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern UP, 1973).

(71.) McCarthy, note 48, p. 229.

(72.) Luhmann, note 39, p. 176.

(73.) Habermas, note 12, p. 343.

(74.) This is a point made by many writers who are otherwise sympathetic to the reconstruction of critical theory that he advances; see, for instance, for a topical example, S. O'Neill, "The Politics of Inclusive Agreements: Towards a Critical Discourse Theory of Democracy," Political Studies 48, no. 3 (2000): 503-521. O'Neill criticizes Habermas's focus on a procedural account of democratic legitimacy, and, in many ways parallel to other critics, replays the critique of Habermas in terms of more substantive notions of the ethical life.

(75.) Honneth, note 10, and Honneth, The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflict (Cambridge, Eng.: Polity, 1995). Honneth's careful interpretations owe much to a more phenomenologically oriented outlook that recommends his work for the furthering of the theoretical interests in the hermeneutics of intersubjectivity.

Martin Weber *

* Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 3QY. U.K.; e-mail:
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