St Antony’s International Review (STAIR) is proud to announce the publication of its 19th issue, “Thinking Beyond the State: Emerging Perspectives on Global Justice”. The launch event will take place on 17th June 2014 at 5 p.m. in the Department for Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. More information on the event can be found here.
In this issue, we ask, how should processes of neoliberal globalisation make us think about global justice beyond the state? There are broadly two possible approaches to this question. First, we might turn from the state to supra-national state institutions. Second, we might think beyond state institutions as such. The academic global justice debate has tended to focus on the first approach. With this issue we intend to broaden the debate by taking seriously the potential of non-statist political and social movements to address global injustices.
The standard positions within political theory on this question can be broadly divided into cosmopolitans and various forms of statists. Cosmopolitans believe that national borders are morally arbitrary and that principles of justice should therefore apply globally. Statists includes both nationalists, who see intrinsic value in the nation-state as a protector of cultural and national identities, and liberal statists, who see the state as uniquely capable of enforcing the benefits and burdens associated with justice. These rather ossified positions are however being increasingly questioned by a new generation of theorists who argue that principles of justice should apply globally but also believe that their implementation is often best left to the domestic realm.
Outside of these debates there is an emerging set of actors and theorists that challenge the state-centric framework as a whole. Much commentary has for example focused on the non-statist political practices of the anti-austerity movements, including 15-M in Spain and Occupy in the United States and the United Kingdom. These movements were characterised by their efforts to sustain a non-hierarchical structure, their deliberate distancing from established political parties that seek state power, and their refusal to recognize the state as the only legitimate framework for democratic decision-making. Other prominent examples of non-statist form of politics include the Zapatistas in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Over the last twenty years it has been a largely autonomous and self-governing region that has challenged the neo-liberalisation of the Mexican state and the historical marginalization and discrimination of indigenous peoples. Additionally, refugee and asylum-seekers movements across Europe, such as Kein Mensch ist Illegal in Germany, have responded to state hostility and neglect by providing their own legal aid, language courses, housing and other social services. Overall, these groups, though local in origin, have connected their struggle to calls for global solidarity. These movements have thereby demonstrated the need to think, theorise and act against beyond the statist framework.
Our themed issue opens with an interview of Professor Kalypso Nicolaïdis (University of Oxford), an expert on how the EU should (and should not) act as a democratic body beyond the state. This question has become only more relevant in the light of the alarming success of Eurosceptic parties in the recent European Parliamentary elections. Although dedicated to the European project, Nicolaïdis takes this discontent seriously. Her key contribution has been the idea of demoicracy, the idea that the EU contains multiple demoi and should not be thought of as a single demos. Nicolaïdis argues that the EU, as a demoicracy, does have a common, transnational purpose but it should not attempt to displace the particularities of its constituent nations.
The themed issue includes four further articles. In the first article Jack Joy moves away from the European context and examines how Islamist movements in Egypt and Jordan have come to dominate social welfare functions that were once controlled by the state. Anthony J. Langlois engages in an in-depth critique of Iris Marion Young’s influential work on responsibility and global justice. Anne-Sophie Reichert discusses the importance of local knowledge for creating legitimacy, with specific focus on the Palestinian refugee camp Qalandia. In the final article Marc Woons discusses the problem of how liberal nationalists should respond to multinationalism. The issue also includes one general article by Nina Gren that recounts the stories of elderly Palestinian refugees during their flight in 1948 (the al-Nakba), which she argues was a gendered experience.
The issue will be sold at the launch event. It is also available at Blackwell’s on Broad Street and online.