Making a World of Difference? Habermas, Cosmopolitanism and the Constitutionalization of International Law

European University Institute Working Paper Law No. 2005/17

17 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2006

See all articles by Neil Walker

Neil Walker

University of Edinburgh, School of Law

Date Written: December 2005

Abstract

This paper examines the explicit linkage in the recent work of Habermas between cosmopolitanism and the constitutionalization of international law. Whereas previous thinking on the constitutionalization of international law has tended either towards the utopianism of world government or the modest ambition of attaching the constitutional label to certain material developments in transnational regulation - in particular the human rights regimes and the institutional structure of the UN as developed through state agreement - Habermas looks for an intermediate solution. This would involve a modest range of institutions and functions at the global level, in particular around peace and human rights, but founded on a broader and more popular basis than state agreement. The potential and urgency of the Habermas proposal lies in its opposition less to the other constitutional visions and more to the alternative and increasingly tangible prospect of a lop-sided international regime dominated by American perspectives.

Keywords: Constitution building, legitimacy, international agreements, Human rights, multi-level governance

Suggested Citation

Walker, Neil, Making a World of Difference? Habermas, Cosmopolitanism and the Constitutionalization of International Law (December 2005). European University Institute Working Paper Law No. 2005/17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=891036 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.891036

Neil Walker (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh, School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

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