The Ethics of Global Governance and Global Governance of Ethics

Authored by: James Brassett

The Ashgate Research Companion to Ethics and International Relations

Print publication date:  September  2009
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754671015
eBook ISBN: 9781315612935
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043546


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Since the publication of Charles Beitz’s Political Theory and International Relations (1979), a trickle of articles and books has now turned into a torrent of publications that deal with what might be called ‘global political theory’ (inter alia Caney 2005; Cochran 1999; Habermas 2001; Held 1995; Held and McGrew 2002; Pogge 2002). While the ethical questions under consideration have remained fairly constant throughout – justice, democracy, equality, and so forth – the ontology of global political theory has shifted somewhat. Previous discussions centred upon the question of ‘international ethics’, the stuff of which was ‘states’, their interrelations, and specific duties towards ‘the poor’. More recently though, global political theory has spawned around a far more complex set of institutions, actors and processes that can be couched under the heading of ‘global governance’ (Brassett and Higgott 2003). This is not just the case for those cosmopolitan democrats whose work naturally gravitates toward the subject of global governance, but also, and increasingly, applies to the work of global justice theorists who grapple at the political and institutional locus for their ideal theory.

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