Communitarianism vs. Cosmopolitanism

Topics: International relations, Political philosophy, Morality Pages: 4 (1374 words) Published: May 26, 2005
What are the differences between cosmopolitan and communitarian approaches to global politics? S) A P d x d A
$ þÿ T¹ $ þÿ When looking at normative theories of politics, the main distinction is between cosmopolitanism and communitarianismÿ. In this essay the term community shall refer to political communities, or more specifically, states. It is important to note that these political communities have been defined territorially, and not necessarily by culture, although this is taken for granted to an extent by communitarianism. Communitarians say that each community is different, and therefore should act accordingly with each other. In other words, state autonomy should be absolute and law and moral standards should be self-determined by the community itself alone. Furthermore, communities should have no obligations to other political communities or any sort of international law. Contrastingly, Cosmopolitans say that there should be an overriding universal moral standard to which all states (or communities) should adhere. If a state is infringing on the rights of the individual or humanity, then intervention is appropriate and just.S A @ È È A— 0 t N… T| $ þÿc Steve Smith, The Globalisation of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations p. 173A 8

T $ þÿ S A @ È È T $ þÿ S A @ È È T> $ þÿÝ Communitarianism says that communities themselves define what rightful conduct is, and therefore should not be obliged to follow any universal moral code. Morality arises from the culture that makes up the community, and therefore determines what is right for that community, whether it is or not for anyone else. Communitarians say that there cannot be a universal moral standard because where would these standards come from? Who would decide what is right and wrong? However, the argument communitarianism can be turned against it if these communities are...

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