. 7
( 8)


prone, by force of circumstances, to commit sly and devilish acts. Life
constantly involves confrontations with alien others, by strangers with
whom con¬‚ict, even violent con¬‚ict, is both possible and probable. On
this view, those who take seriously, at face value, talk of ethical principles,
such as rational debate, pluralism, acceptance of differences, understand-
ing and compassion for others, are foolish. Ethics are always and every-
where the convenient masks of power and power con¬‚icts. It follows that
considerations of ethical questions are not only (as Mouffe says) na¨ve; ±
they are also exercises in useless abstraction unless they recognise that
ought is the concrete refuge of the is of power.
The critique of global civil society launched by the School of
Cantankerousness has three merits. First, it warns of the need to be on
the lookout for maquillage “ for particular interests dressed up in the ¬ne
cloth and jewellery of universal principles. Second, it rightly points as
well to the omnipresent possibility of con¬‚ict within and among cross-
border civil society organisations, networks and movements. It is redolent
of Hegel™s insight that civil society is a restless battle¬eld on which interest
meets interest. That insight remains important: global civil society, in-
cluding its more local domains, contains no ˜natural™ tendency towards
equilibrium. It is rather the contingent outcome, the resultant, of its var-
ious interacting elements. Finally, the critique launched by the School of
Cantankerousness implies the need for legal and political regulation of
global civil society. This follows from its rough and tumble quality: for if
there is a constant possibility of uncivil deception, cunning and violent
opposition from opponents, then global civil society stands in need of
measures, enacted and enforced by governing institutions, that maximise
its civility.
These points are valuable. The friends of global civil society never-
theless need to be suspicious of the way in which the School of Can-
tankerousness gives short shrift to talk of ethics. It does so because it
secretly adheres to an ontology of con¬‚ict, thereby contradicting its own
disavowal of ontology. It correctly emphasises the contingency of iden-
tities and, correspondingly, deigns to heap doubt upon all normatively
inclined ontologies “ upon all species of normative claims that suppose
that there is an underlying reality that exists in itself and has determinate
effects upon everybody and everything within the world. The trouble is
that the School of Cantankerousness pursues its claims on the basis of an
obsession with antagonism. ˜The same movement that brings human be-
ings together in their common desire for the same objects™, writes Mouffe,
˜is also at the origin of their antagonisms. Far from being the exterior of
182 Global Civil Society?

exchange, rivalry and violence are therefore its ever-present possibility . . .
violence is ineradicable.™15 This secret attraction to an ontology of
con¬‚ict “ ironically “ wins it honorary membership of the Club of Believ-
ers in First Principles, a motley philosophical circle that contains other,
competing ontologies, each of which vies or cries out for attention as the
supposedly best way to live life on this planet called Earth.
The School of Cantankerousness alludes to the importance of
democracy “ understood as ˜agonistic pluralism™ “ but given its aesthetic
attraction to power con¬‚icts and violence (Mouffe describes her political
thinking as that of a ˜democratic Hobbesian™) this seems to rest upon
purely tactical considerations. The best institutional conditions of pos-
sibility of democracy are left unexamined. The whole approach prema-
turely calls into question the normative ideal of global civil society “ or
hastily judges and condemns it to death as an unrealisable, hopelessly
na¨ve utopia. In so doing, the School of Cantankerousness turns a blind
eye to the theoretical problem of alterity, especially to the need to think
against common sense views of clashes and con¬‚icts among groups, to
see instead that the self and other, the internal and the external, may
well not be opposites, but that they are often enough always inside one
another. I shall return to this point, and for the moment merely make the
more limited empirical observation that the School of Cantankerousness
wilfully neglects the (history of) actually existing ethical agreements and
patterns of ethical solidarity that abound within global civil society. The
School of Cantankerousness is curmudgeonly: it is less than interested, or
downright uninterested, in loyalties and agreements, which are dismissed
or devalued as mere tactical moves by otherwise antagonistic combat-
ants. The obsession with antagonism of the School of Cantankerousness
leads it to ignore or denigrate the various attempts, made during the past
decade, to launch an ethical defence of global civil society. It is important
to address and critically assess these attempts, not merely as an exercise
in limbering up our thoughts about global civil society, but as a way of
enriching our appreciation of its ethical advantages and unresolved eth-
ical problems. Naturally, the topic is large and complex and space does
not permit fastidious attention to detail. So let us think for a moment in
the simplifying terms of a continuum of possible positions.

A Western ideal?
Standing at one end of the continuum are observers, especially those who
are sensitive to time“space variations among ethical views, who insist that

15 ˜Foreword™ to Pierre Saint-Amand, The Laws of Hostility. Politics, Violence, and the
Enlightenment (Minneapolis and London, 1996), pp. ix, x.
Ethics beyond borders 183

global civil society is one particular “ historically speci¬c “ ideal among
others. Let us call this approach Particularism. Its various proponents are
agreed that global civil society is not a principle that has universal validity.
It is unmistakably a child of ˜the West™, or ˜the Atlantic region™, despite
all grand claims to the contrary. The principle of global civil society “ and
its corresponding emphasis on non-violence, pluralism, self-organisation,
individuality, equality, mutual assistance and self-re¬‚exiveness “ may be
appealing, but it is nonetheless a pseudo-universal. It is the practice of
ethical parochialism behind the mask of universal ethics.
Particularists disagree about whether or not the ethic itself should be
rejected. There are certainly those who shun talk of global civil society,
or who express outright hostility towards it. They say that the fancy
ethic of global civil society is reducible to core ˜Western™ or ˜American™
values “ principally, to the shabby ideology of liberal or market individ-
ualism. Various commentators on the Left, supporters of some brand of
Marxism included, are certain that the institutional structures and moral
standards of the emerging global society are essentially organised by the
power relations radiating from ˜liberalism™ and its corresponding system
of private property, market competition, and commodity production and
exchange. Global civil society is a new phase of Western bourgeois soci-
ety lubricated by a particular set of historically speci¬c bourgeois values.
Common sense thinks of global civil society as the silver bullet that is
capable of ˜opening™ repressive regimes and guaranteeing or deepening
democratic liberties. It is considered good because it is by de¬nition sep-
arated from and opposed to (bad) governmental power. But the sober
truth, so the argument of Particularism runs, is that global civil society is
˜part of the dominant ideology of the post-cold war period: liberal market
capitalism™. The language of global civil society gravely misdescribes the
world, and its speakers, whether they know it or not, are ˜the useful idiots
of . . . the privatization of the world, commonly known as globalisation™.16
Such perceptions attract strange bedfellows, including religious oppo-
nents of ˜globalisation™, who agree that talk of global civil society is a stalk-
ing horse for ˜Western values™ and American-led turbocapitalism. There
are other Particularists who acknowledge that the principle of global civil
society is historically speci¬c, but who at the same time insist on its ethical
importance, even superiority, when compared to its rivals on the world
scene. ˜Most people “ especially people relatively untouched by European
Enlightenment “ simply do not think of themselves as, ¬rst and foremost,

16 The quotations are drawn from David Rieff, ˜The False Dawn of Civil Society™, The
Nation, February 22, 1999, pp. 11“16. See also my earlier critical account of nineteenth-
and twentieth-century socialist mis-representations of the state “ civil society distinction
in Democracy and Civil Society.
184 Global Civil Society?

a human being™, writes Richard Rorty.17 That some part of the world™s
population does so is a mark not only of the ˜peculiarity™ of the ˜North
Atlantic culture™ in which liberal humanism hatched. In spite of its histor-
ical contingency, this culture should be understood as ˜morally superior™
because it is ˜a culture of hope “ hope of a better world as attainable
here below by social effort “ as opposed to the cultures of resignation
characteristic of the East.™18
Rorty does not speak of civil society, only of its morals, which he regards
as superior (and hence of global relevance) for reasons that seem rather
arbitrary. The West gave birth to the impressive principle of human im-
provement through social effort “ ˜a culture of secular humanism™ “ but
even though that principle is only one among many others it is evidently
superior. ˜There is much still to be achieved™, he says at one point, ˜but
basically the West is on the right path. I don™t believe it has much to
learn from other cultures. We should aim to expand, to westernise the
planet.™19 Why support this process of Westernisation, others will quickly
ask? Rorty does not clearly say, for he wants deliberately to avoid any
form of universal reasoning and to stay within the modest con¬nes of
Particularism. So too does another species of Particularism, which sets
aside the problem by putting forward the bold empirical claim that the
global civil society that originated in the West has become a de facto uni-
versal. An exemplar of this line of reasoning is presented by Buzan and
Segal.20 During the course of the twentieth century, they observe, ever-
wider networks of human contact and organisation were built up, cul-
minating in the creation, for the ¬rst time, of ˜a single global space for
humankind™. Buzan and Segal hesitate in giving this space a name, but
it is clear from their account that it consists of various dynamics that
elsewhere parade under such names as ˜the global economy™, ˜the inter-
national system™ of territorial states, and the least familiar term of ˜world
society™, which refers to the growth of shared experiences and identities
cultivated by the spread of world-wide communications.21 The combined
effect of these dynamics, Buzan and Segal argue, is that human beings, es-
pecially the wealthy, cannot now avoid knowing about each other because
their actions intersect in ever more complicated Western ways. A coming
global ˜clash of civilisations™ is unlikely, principally because during the
17 Richard Rorty, ˜Human Rights, Rationality, and Sentimentality™, in Truth and Progress
(Cambridge, 1998), p. 178.
18 Richard Rorty, ˜Rationality and Cultural Difference™, in Truth and Progress (Cambridge,
1998), p. 197.
19 From an interview with Mathias Greffrath and others, ˜Den Planeten verwestlichen!™,
S¨ ddeutsche Zeitung (Munchen), 20 November 2001 (translation mine).
u ¨
20 Barry Buzan and Gerald Segal, Anticipating the Future (London, 1998), p. 74.
21 Buzan and Segal, Anticipating the Future, p. 183.
Ethics beyond borders 185

past four centuries or so there has been an accelerating planetary diffusion
of the key factors that gave the West a huge power advantage over rival
systems: empirical“analytic science, political liberalism, market-driven
industrialisation and the territorial nation-state equipped with modern
Buzan and Segal compare this triumph of Western ways to the vast
penumbra of peoples and cultures in¬‚uenced by classical Greece and
Rome. Just as that 500-year period was followed by nearly 2,000 years
of Hellenistic civilisation, from Alexander™s conquests to the fall of
Byzantium, so too can the 500-year period of ˜classical™ Western civil-
isation be distinguished from the multi-centred period of ˜Westernistic
civilisation™ that has now begun. The analogy is stretched further, be-
cause during the twentieth century, they claim, the global grip of the
West was weakened by several world wars and decolonisation, which sig-
nalled the end of its direct political and military control of the planet™s
peoples and territories. The upshot is ironic: although the power of the
West (understood as the core OECD states and economies) has declined,
there is much evidence, symbolised by the rise of East Asia, of the triumph
of Westernisation around the world.22 The West may have succeeded in
conquering the world in the most subtle way possible: through the incul-
cation of a cluster of Western norms and techniques. Yet that has had the
unintended effect of encouraging the world™s peoples to think of them-
selves as equals and even rivals of the old Western core, as actors who
are capable of operating at arm™s length from it, who have certain enti-
tlements in relation to it and who, on the basis of their new-found power
position in the world, feel that they have the authority to act upon it in
Western ways.
This species of Particularism avoids the concept of a global civil soci-
ety, even though, when referring to the development of a ˜world society™
and ˜world economy™, it clearly has something similar in mind, how-
ever vaguely. A price is paid for the absence of the term civil society: the
rather one-sided impression is created that the ˜single global space™ is now
framed by ˜settled™ norms clustered around scienti¬c“technical progress,
the market and the system of territorial states and interstate laws and
customs (or what is called, following Hedley Bull and others, ˜interna-
tional society™). The analysis rather understates the global turbulence that
22 See Buzan and Segal, Anticipating the Future, pp. 185“6: ˜The continuing success of East
Asia seems to depend on it retaining the fundamental features taught by the Atlantic
world. Every successful economy in East Asia has accepted the logic of a market economy.
Every society that has done so has also moved down the road to a variation of political
liberalism and primary stress on the rights of individuals. The trend is lumpy but no
state goes backward in any of these key respects of westernisation and still remains an
economic success (Singapore is perhaps the exception that proves the rule).™
186 Global Civil Society?

arises within the older cores of non-Western civilisations, most notably
those centred in Muslim societies and East Asia, which are increasingly
able and willing not only to defend themselves, and to project power into
their own regions, but to insist on the legitimacy of their own cultural
values. The analysis also ignores the con¬‚ict potential generated by the
(potential) incompatibility within Western norms. The tense and often
contradictory relationship between market and state is among the best-
known,23 but perhaps the more striking fact is that because the category
of global civil society is neglected so too are the forces within it that gen-
erate normative con¬‚icts. The disregard of public spheres of non-violent
controversy about who gets what, when and how “ one of the de¬ning
organising principles of the West “ is a case in point. So too is the ne-
glect of religion, which (intended or not) creates the secularist impression
that religion is ˜withering away™. Most de¬nitely it is not, which is among
the reasons why ethical standards are currently alive and well within civil
society at the global level, why global civil society itself is normatively
contested “ and why various attempts are currently underway to elicit
its First Principles and, thus, to defend and justify it as a normatively
superior form of life.

First Principles?
The Club of Believers in First Principles has a wide range of different
members. While they have in common one basic characteristic “ their
commitment to specifying a set of universal ethical principles that in some
way could serve as both inspirational motive and a guide to practice “ each
pursues (as we shall see) quite different strategies of ethically justifying
global civil society. It is important to be aware of their approaches “ if
only to assess their respective degrees of plausibility.

Natural law
The history of modern ethics, beginning with The Rights of War and Peace
by Hugo de Groot,24 has seen many attempts to establish universal stan-
dards of ethics that are said to be objective because they conform deduc-
tively to the tenets of natural law. Such attempts have their antecedents
in the search within Roman law for a body of ¬rst principles “ the jus
gentium “ that could be applied to all the peoples governed by that law.
This body of principles subsequently was often described and analysed

23 See Claus Offe, Contradictions of the Welfare State, ed. John Keane (London, 1984).
24 Hugo de Groot, De Jure Belli ac Pacis, 3 vols. (London, 1715).
Ethics beyond borders 187

as jus naturale “ as a body of natural law that served as an incontestable
standard for deciding how all human beings should live together under
the laws. Natural law reasoning undoubtedly has had ˜secular™ intentions,
outlined in the famous (originally theological) formulation that natural
laws are valid even if God does not exist or human affairs are not in his care
(etiamsi daremus non esse Deum aut non curari ab eo negotia humana). The
natural law approach also implies that ethics should not depend upon
convention, but only on ˜nature™, usually understood as ˜human nature™
itself. This criterion functions in effect as the standard for reasoning about
ethical standards “ as the criterion of validity that is logically prior to, and
independent of, actually existing or ˜positive™ laws or customs. Natural
law is a system of ethics that is binding upon all individuals; it calls upon
them to recognise and respect its rules, by means of such ˜natural™ facul-
ties as the capacity for reason.
Today, the most common and in¬‚uential version of this approach is
the doctrine of universal human rights. Among its earliest statements is
J. G. Fichte™s Grundlage des Naturrechts nach Principien der Wissenschaft-
slehre (1795“6), which vigorously defends ˜cosmopolitan right™ as the
˜original human right which precedes all rightful contracts and which
alone makes them possible . . . the one true human right that belongs to
the human being as such: the right to be able to acquire rights™.25 Fichte of
course stipulated that these rights be made strongly conditional upon the
foreigner™s ˜unavoidable™ acknowledgement of and respect for the powers
of sovereign territorial states. He did not spot the (potentially) tense
relationship between these states and universal human rights, but exactly
that tension has come to dog discussions of human rights. One way
forward “ the move has been a source of inspiration to two generations of
supporters of the growth of global civil society “ is to posit the universal
primacy of human rights, such as the freedom from torture and arbitrary
government and, more positively, the entitlement of citizens to healthcare
and education that is provided collectively.
The ethic of human rights “ the claim that global civil society is its
outcome and guarantor “ has been criticised on several grounds. There
are certainly deep ambiguities within the de¬nition of what counts as
˜human™ or ˜human nature™; the book of human nature, when opened,
is not easily read and in any case gives rise to competing and sometimes
hostile interpretations. Talk of human rights and human rights abuses is
also vulnerable to the objection that it rests on the hidden presumption

25 J. G. Fichte, Grundlage des Naturrechts nach Principien der Wissenschaftslehre (1795“6),
in Johann Gottlieb Fichtes s¨ mmtliche Werke, ed. I. H. Fichte (Berlin, 1845“6), vol. 3,
p. 384.
188 Global Civil Society?

that being human is a good thing, or that humans are good, or at least that
humans are ˜essentially™ capable of goodwill. Such objections are telling
and in practice they fuel the search for different, more secure ethical
arguments in support of global civil society.

A human consensus?
Standards of ethical behaviour based on natural law theories are derived
deductively from First Principles like ˜all human beings are equal, and
are therefore entitled to live within a global civil society and to exercise
their rights equally™. By contrast, there is a second type of ethical justi-
¬cation of global civil society that is reached inductively. Persuaded by
Hume™s thought that ˜mankind [sic] is much the same in all times and
places™,26 this approach argues that there are certain First Principles of
global civil society, and that these can be divined from the historical and/or
actual observation that certain ethical standards, or some version of these
standards, have come to be common to all of humanity, in all times and
places. Hume observed that human cooperation “ two men rowing a boat,
for instance “ results not from rational promising and contracting among
individuals, but from trial-and-error recognition of the advantages of rub-
bing along together “ of jointly learning to taste ˜the sweets of society and
mutual assistance™.27 Neo-Humean approaches to ethics emphasise that
basic agreements among all human beings (consensus humani generis) can
and do encompass such matters as respect for life, freedom from fear, and
adequate food, clothing and shelter. Proponents of this human consen-
sus approach are notably shy of being too speci¬c on these matters. They
typically adopt a dynamic standpoint, in that they argue for the possibility
of developing a transcultural consensus about ˜common human values™
through intercultural exchanges.
Parekh™s defence of a species of non-ethnocentric ˜minimum univer-
salism™ falls into this category.28 He supposes that there are some de-
¬nable universal values that can and should function as a basic ethical

26 David Hume, Essays Moral and Political, eds. T. H. Green and T. H. Grose, 4 vols.
(London 1875), vol. 2, p. 68.
27 David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental
Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects (London, 1739), book 3, section 7.
28 Bhikhu Parekh, ˜Non-Ethnocentric Universalism™, in Tim Dunne and Nicholas J.
Wheeler (eds.), Human Rights in Global Politics (Cambridge and New York, 1999),
pp. 128“59. Parekh re¬nes the details of his argument in Rethinking Multiculturalism
(London, 2000) and ˜Cosmopolitanism and Global Citizenship™, a revised typescript
¬rst delivered as the E. H. Carr Memorial Lecture (University of Wales at Aberystwyth,
Ethics beyond borders 189

threshold, as a kind of ˜¬‚oor™ of values that no individual, group or whole
society can undermine without losing its entitlement to be accepted as
˜good™, or as worthy of toleration by others. Thanks to the great tech-
nological advances of our age, global interdependence is promoting ˜a
vague but unmistakable sense of global moral community™. So what are
these common human values? Parekh speaks of certain ˜universal human
constants™ that both distinguish human beings as superior to the animals
and enable human beings to see eye-to-eye with others. These constants
include ˜human unity, human dignity, human worth, promotion of hu-
man well-being or fundamental human interests, and equality™. Parekh
denies that these universals are ontological in any simple sense, that
they are somehow immune from the vagaries of time and space; they
are rather the products of phylogenesis in that human societies ˜have
decided for good reasons to live by them and confer on them the sta-
tus of values™. And he admits “ echoing Michael Walzer™s well-known
distinction between the ˜thick™ lumps of morality of particular human
societies and the ˜thin™ strips of morality that stretch between otherwise
different societies29 “ that these universals are stretched and ˜thin™ com-
pared to the densely bundled or ˜thick™ moral structures or ˜special ties™
that give a distinctive shape to different societies and political communi-
ties. These human constants nevertheless imply two fundamental duties:
not to in¬‚ict evils like poverty or torture on others by damaging their
ability to pursue their self-de¬ned well-being; and the duty to alleviate
their suffering and render them such help as they need, within the limits
of the resources that are available. These duties are expressions of our
common humanity. They also function as supports in a bridge that en-
ables a ˜cross-cultural deliberation on moral values™. Such deliberation
is necessary and desirable because although universal human constants
are ˜universally valid™ they are by their nature quite general and in need
of interpretation; they need as well to be prioritised and applied to the
particular circumstances of each society. Parekh says that any particular
society (note the abstract use of the term) cannot presume that others will
agree automatically with its own interpretation of any one constant like
˜human life™. Respect for human dignity, for instance, can imply the ethic
of individualism within a turbocapitalist system or instead an ethic of citi-
zenship bolstered by social security provision; human dignity may be seen,
minimally, as the prohibition of enslavement, torture, rape and genocide
or, maximally, as the satisfaction of all the desirable conditions of the

29 Michael Walzer, Thick and Thin: Moral Argument at Home and Abroad (Notre Dame,
190 Global Civil Society?

good life. How to decide among these various options, it might be asked?
Parekh™s answer: ˜an open-minded cross-cultural dialogue in which par-
ticipants rationally decide what values are worthy of their allegiance and
This approach suffers from certain weaknesses. Its understanding of
˜the human™ is rather vague and arguably understates, to say the least,
the incurable ethical ambivalence that lies at the heart of ˜being human™.
And quite aside from the fact that it begs many questions about exactly
how an open-minded, robust, uninhibited, cross-cultural dialogue is in-
stitutionally possible “ the category of public spheres is obviously needed,
but goes unmentioned “ its avowed attachment to ˜rational™ decisionmak-
ing and ˜dialogue™ arouses the suspicion that it presumes what needs to be
demonstrated: that there is an already-existing will at the planetary level to
engage in a cross-cultural dialogue founded upon a prior consensus about
being human. No doubt, in certain circles, within ecumenical religious
groups, for instance, such a will already exists. But where it does not, and
where there is profound disagreement about what being ˜human™ means,
the presumption that rational dialogue is a good thing cannot operate as
a life jacket in stormy seas. The case for ˜minimum universalism™ goes
under, dragged down by a presumption that needs to be demonstrated.

Neo-Kantian approaches
Another strategy for rebutting ethical particularism denies that ethical
principles of universal scope are uselessly abstract as well as insensitive
to ethical differences. It supposes that a set of ethical First Principles
can be described and justi¬ed through rational procedures. These First
Principles, it is said, must take account of empirical conditions and conse-
quences of action without however deferring to either empiricism or con-
sequentialism. The starting point, according to this neo-Kantian strategy,
is to explore the possibility that ethical principles that cannot serve for a
plurality of different actors should be rejected; and, conversely, that eth-
ical principles must be universally applicable. This categorical imperative
or Moral Law runs something like: ˜Act in all situations and at all times
only in accordance with the maxim that your will is at the same time a
universal law.™ This approach emphasises that ethical worthiness is mea-
sured by acting ˜out of duty™ to universalisable principles. It naturally

30 Parekh, ˜Non-Ethnocentric Universalism™, pp. 149“50, 150, 140, 158; cf. ˜Cosmopoli-
tanism and Global Citizenship™, p. 27: ˜What we need . . . is openness to the other, an
appreciation of the immense range and variety of human existence, an imaginative grasp
of what both distinguishes and unites human beings, and the willingness to enter into a
non-hegemonic dialogue.™
Ethics beyond borders 191

questions the view that ethics are bounded by territorial state boundaries
and the national and cultural differences they contain. Kant™s view that
a fully adequate account of ethics must be cosmopolitan is the essential
starting point.
Cosmopolitans like to point to the fact that our world is one in which
action and interaction at a distance are probable. ˜Huge numbers of dis-
tant strangers may be bene¬ted or harmed, even sustained or destroyed,
by our action, and especially by our institutionally embodied action, or
inaction “ as we may be by theirs™, observes O™Neill.31 She goes on to ask
whether or not that means that we have obligations to others who are dis-
tant from us. Her reply is that if there is no general reason to suppose that
distance obstructs action, or that action must affect or respect only a few
people, then there is no general reason to conclude that justice or other
ethical obligations between vast numbers of distant strangers are impos-
sible. She observes that in everyday action actors commonly assume that
distant strangers both within and without our societies are both agents and
subjects. ˜Importers and exporters rely on complex assumptions about
the capacities of distant trading partners. Broadcasters make complex
assumptions about distant audiences; airlines about distant customers;
both make assumptions about distant regulators. Banks borrow and lend
on complex assumptions about a widely dispersed, possibly global, range
of savers and borrowers and about their propensities to deposit and bor-
row given certain rates of interest.™ O™Neill™s reasoning, rather like the
later Kant™s historicised understanding of our status as free beings, de-
pends upon what she calls a ˜practical, contextual approach™. Implicitly “
though she does not use the phrase “ she supposes the existence of a
global civil society. She wants to emphasise that in our daily lives ˜we™
hang on a ˜vast web of assumptions™; ˜we™ constantly assume that count-
less others whom we will never meet can and do produce and consume,
trade and negotiate, translate and settle payments, pollute or protect the
environment. It does not follow that we should show kindness and bene¬-
cence towards them, or that we have the normative resources to discharge
our duties towards all people. Ethical virtues and duties have to be dis-
charged selectively. That being so, cosmopolitanism today can be only
˜approximate moral cosmopolitanism™. Yet since at least some strangers
deserve our current solidarity that implies the possibility that ˜we™ could
work towards institutional cosmopolitanism “ not necessarily towards a
stateless world, but towards a world in which certain global institutional
forms ensure that ethical boundaries between people become ever more

31 Onora O™Neill, Bounds of Justice (Cambridge and New York, 2000), pp. 187, 183, 201.
192 Global Civil Society?

God and global civil society
The neo-Kantian perspective on ethics has been criticised for its fetish of
reason at the expense of the passions, its empty formalism, its rigid and
context-insensitive rules that are blind to the need for ˜trade-offs™ among
con¬‚icting universal rules, and its dependence upon the distinction be-
tween the phenomenal (natural, causally determined) and the noumenal
(non-natural, self-determining). These criticisms need not detain us here,
because it is easy to see that each of the proposed ethical justi¬cations of
global civil society outlined above is marked by scratches and faults. The
simple juxtaposition of these various justi¬cations “ following the well-
known method employed in Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali™s The Incoherence of
the Philosophers (Tahafut al-falasifah)32 “ is revealing of their theoretical
and practical incompatibility. Much can of course be learned positively
from their comparison, including the imperative to acknowledge each of
them in any revised account of a global ethic. Yet logical ¬‚aws and slips
of reasoning abound; the vitality of each is hampered by blind eyes or
dulled senses about important matters; and when considered together,
it is clear that they have not all been cut from the same cloth and that
therefore the problem they set out to solve “ to settle once and for all
questions about the ethical status of global civil society “ is compounded
by their incommensurability. None of this should be surprising, since
elsewhere in the ¬eld of philosophy all attempts to provide a rational
foundation for ethical principles seem to have failed. One does not have
to accept the melancholy conclusion of Wittgenstein “ that ˜the tendency
of all men who ever tried to write or talk Ethics or religion was to run
against the boundaries of language. This running against the walls of our
cage is perfectly, absolutely hopeless™33 “ to see the initial problem. Since
Wittgenstein, techniques of rational argumentation and logical reason-
ing have become ever more subtle, but the outcome remains the same:
confusion and disagreement that resembles the tower of Babel, tempered
only by temporary trends in favour of this or that approach “ yesterday
universal pragmatics and liberal theories of justice, today communitari-
anism and deconstruction “ whose persuasiveness is mainly determined
by rhetorical charm, institutional support, charisma, the art of timing
and luck.
Given these limitations and outright failures of ethical rationalism, it
should not be surprising that there are signs of the rebirth and renewed
32 Abu Hamid Muhammad Bin Al-Ghazali, The Incoherence of the Philosophers/Tahafut
al-falasifah, trans., introd. and annot. by M. E. Marmura (Provo, UT, 2000).
33 Ludwig Wittgenstein, ˜A Lecture on Ethics™, in Peter Singer (ed.), Ethics (Oxford, 1994),
pp. 146“7.
Ethics beyond borders 193

popularity of religious justi¬cations of ethics. Moral discomfort with eth-
ical confusion is the humus in which the plant of religious ethics grows; it
is fed by the sense that although humans cannot avoid reasoning, reason
alone is not enough.34 It is true that the historical and intellectual rela-
tionship between religiosity and civil society in its various forms is close,
yet tense and complex. The religious origins of civil society are a matter of
some dispute. There are for instance Muslim clerics and scholars, Rashid
al-Ghannouchi among them, who point out that the basic elements of a
civil society were introduced by Islam well before it made its appearance
in western Europe.35 Within Christian Europe, from the sixteenth cen-
tury onwards, there were contrasting efforts to rescue and defend the
ideal of societas civilis as an antidote to religious fanaticism.36 This paved
the way, intellectually speaking, for several ironic effects, including argu-
ments for the toleration of (some) religious differences within the Earthly
City of actually existing civil society, as well as claims that it is precisely
this space for religious toleration, founded on the separation of church
from state, that marks off the West as historically unique “ and better
than other civilisations.
These complex points need not detain us here. They merely serve as
something of a backdrop for understanding contemporary efforts to bring
the world™s religions and their ethics back into the world “ to give them
a voice in de¬ning the contemporary globalisation of civil society. Reli-
gious justi¬cations of global civil society are certainly in abundance. One
version is well illustrated in the steely reasoning of the leading theologian,
Hans Kung. ˜No survival without a world ethic. No world peace with-
out peace between the religions. No peace between the religions without
dialogue between the religions™, he writes.37 While acknowledging the
ways in which the world™s religions have failed to live up to their own
prescribed norms, Kung emphasises their surprising degree of consensus
about important ethical matters. Each emphasises, for instance, the need
for consciousness of a responsibility “ towards oneself and the world.
Examples of this world-de¬ning ethics include Buddhist ˜composure™ in

34 See my ˜Secularism?™, in David Marquand and Ronald L. Nettler (eds.), Religion and
Democracy (Oxford, 2000); the text of the German Publishers™ Peace Prize address by
Jurgen Habermas, ˜Glauben und Wissen™, Der Tagesspiegel (Berlin), 15 October 2001;
and Wolfgang Kraus, Nihilismus heute oder die Geduld der Weltgeschichte (Frankfurt am
Main, 1985), p. 138: ˜The frustration, the embitterment, the hatred of history, of the
illusions of the past and the reality of today are the origin of that nihilism which is
inundating us. Nihilism is the other side of the hope for a man-made paradise.™
35 See my Civil Society: Old Images, New Visions (Oxford and Stanford, 1998), pp. 28“31.
36 Dominique Colas, Le Glaive et le ¬‚´au: G´n´alogie du fanatisme et de la soci´t´ civile (Paris,
e ee ee
1992), esp. chapters 1“3.
37 Hans Kung, Projekt Weltethos (Munchen, 1990), p. xv ff.
¨ ¨
194 Global Civil Society?

dealings with the world; the commandments of the Torah and Talmud;
the social duties which structure the whole life of a Hindu; the teach-
ings of Confucius aimed at wisdom; the instructions related to everyday
life in the Qur™¯ n; and the preachings of Jesus Christ. All religions, says
Kung, require individuals to observe and embrace certain categorical
rules and virtues that can guide their worldly actions, from within. Among
these ˜golden rules™ is the importance of working for human well-being.
Hence the demand of the Qur™¯ n for justice, truth and good works, the
Buddhist doctrine of overcoming human suffering, the Hindu striving to
ful¬l ˜dharma™, the Confucian requirement to preserve the cosmic order,
including the humanum, the Jewish commandment to love God and one™s
neighbour, and its radicalisation (to the point of loving one™s enemy) in
Jesus™ mountain sermon.
These various ethical strategies “ despite their categorical prohibition
of such acts as lying, stealing and murder “ obviously contain different
rules. Some Catholic Christians oppose arti¬cial contraception; some
Muslims favour amputation as a punishment for theft; some Hindus de-
fend the caste system; and so on. Yet Kung insists that they are equally
united in their opposition to ˜unprincipled libertinism™ and in their active
belief in an unconditioned Absolute. Their commitment to a First Princi-
ple is particularly important, for religion brings certainty to the sphere of
ethics. It follows, in the face of uncertainty and spiritual emptiness, that
religions can bring strength to individuals. They can ˜credibly demon-
strate with a unique power of conviction a horizon of meaning on this
earth “ and also a ¬nal goal™. Religion puts a sting in the tail of ethi-
cal entitlements and obligations; it blesses them with deep meaning, with
˜absoluteness and universality™.

Global civil society “ without foundations
From Capetown to Cairo, and from Fairbanks to Fremantle, such claims
usually stir up passionate public controversies about the ˜truth™ of religion
versus the ˜truth™ of secular views. These disputes are not easily resolved,
and often become violently heated, which is why elsewhere I have pointed
to the need in ethical matters to call a truce by respecting the Law of Un-
ending Controversy.38 This practical rule “ it is not a ˜law™ in any received
sense other than playfulness “ underlines the implausibility of practical
attempts to generate ethical consensus through communication (along
38 An illuminating example is Umberto Eco and Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, Belief or
Nonbelief? A Confrontation (New York, 2000). See also my essay on the historical origins
and contemporary limits of secularism, ˜Secularism?™, in Marquand and Nettler (eds.),
Religion and Democracy, pp. 5“19.
Ethics beyond borders 195

the lines of Habermas™ well-known formula). It points as well to the im-
probability of efforts at harmonising competing ethical claims, let alone of
crafting something like a meta-language which could satisfy all disputants,
reconcile all opposites, and make lions lie down meekly with lambs.
In matters of religion, this Law certainly applies. It helps us to see
that human beings can™t be absolutely sure that God exists, or does not
exist; that when we talk about God we don™t know for certain who or
what we are talking about; and that, conversely, we don™t know how
best to summarise, using the language of immanence, the true nature of
Humanity and the World. The Law of Unending Controversy begs us to
see more clearly that the nineteenth-century secularist view that religion
is a man-made whopping tale, and that religious believers are therefore
like Ixion copulating with clouds and breeding monsters, applies just as
well to secularists themselves, who have fared no better in the search for
compelling reasons why religion is daft, why we should believe only in
ourselves, and why human beings are as we are. Given this stalemate,
the Law of Unending Controversy prods us to see that we are left with no
other intellectual and political option “ if we want to avoid social entropy
and political violence “ but to seek ways of maximising the freedom and
equality and mutual respect of non-believers and believers alike.
The Law of Unending Controversy most de¬nitely applies to religious
and non-religious justi¬cations of global civil society. Theological
approaches rest upon bold assertions about, and a faithful trust in,
the existence of a transcendental First Principle that seeks to explain
and make sense of the world. These religious assertions can easily be
countered with equally bold ˜secular™ or this-worldly (immanent) claims,
for instance by some species or another of the view that all ethical systems
are thoroughly human inventions, more or less elaborate human stories
that help to make sense of the vast world in which we are fated to dwell.
Much the same dynamic of unending dispute about global civil society
applies potentially or actually to all other ethical claims that compete for
our attention and favour. All of them are contestable. None of them is
immortal. Each one is vulnerable to being picked on and picked open “
to expose the fact that they are language games operating according to
contingent rules that are often enough incommensurable.
Some might be tempted to draw pessimistic conclusions from this Law
of Unending Controversy, for the improbability of permanently settling
ethical disputes seems to ¬‚ing us back into the ranks of the Cantankerous
School of ethics. Do not these conclusions imply the permanence of bick-
ering, tension, hot disputation, and potentially violent con¬‚ict? Those
kinds of outcomes are indeed anathema to the positive spirit of com-
promise and mutual recognition and acceptance of differences that is so
196 Global Civil Society?

vital to any vibrant civil society. Yet to conclude that the improbability of
ethical consensus makes global civil society an impossible ideal is a faint-
hearted non sequitur. True, the practical adjudication of such claims and
counter-claims is not easy, but there is one way in which these normative
disputes can be openly handled and reach a compromise, with a maxi-
mum of fairness and openness, without igniting violence. It is called “
paradoxically “ global civil society.

In what way can global civil society be understood as a normative ideal?
There are at least two overlapping or interdependent ways of responding
effectively to this question. Both are necessary ingredients of a new the-
ory of ethics beyond borders. One possible answer to the question is to
understand global civil society, in both a theoretical and practical sense,
as a condition of possibility of multiple moralities “ in other words, as a
universe of freedom from a singular Universal Ethic. The members of
every past and present civil society “ and, by de¬nition, every imagin-
able civil society of the future “ are tangled in self-spun webs of nor-
mative meanings. Civil society so conceived contains many and varied,
often competing sets of values and valued ways of living that exist side by
side, or pass through, each other. Moral harmony does not come natu-
rally to a civil society. Within its spaces of interaction, instances of what
Kant called ˜asocial sociability™ are commonplace. This follows from the
fact that individuals™ moral identities are the product of functional dif-
ferentiation: people participate in various groups and associations, and
they therefore do so only with part of themselves. In this way, com-
mon ethical bonds are snapped and broken into many separate links
of morality. Civil society makes possible, in principle at least, an in¬-
nite variety of different morals. This of course sharpens the knives of
cynics and critics alike, especially those who highlight its moral incoher-
ence (Etzioni) and un¬‚agging inner capacities for criticising its own power
The objections of these cynics and critics “ to put it politely “ are to be
expected and welcomed within any civil society, precisely because the ten-
dencies towards moral pluralism (˜moral incoherence™) and self-criticism
that they highlight are in fact the normative stuff of which any properly
functioning civil society is made. A civil society is full of moral ¬bres. It
comprises many social spaces within which morals of many different va-
rieties can and do seek refuge. Derrida™s recent appeal for establishing
˜cities of refuge™ may be re-interpreted more broadly as a metaphor
for imagining what a civil society is and does best: it provides worldly
Ethics beyond borders 197

protection for the right and duty of hospitality for refugees from every
part of the globe.39 Within a world otherwise riddled by violence, great
imbalances of wealth, and nasty prejudice, global civil society is a safe
haven that guarantees the right to asylum for many different and po-
tentially or actually con¬‚icting morals. It provides permanent sanctuary
for those who do not necessarily agree. In respect of this permanency,
it goes beyond what Kant had in mind when he spoke of civil society “
using the classical rather than the modern understanding of this term “
as a place where universal peace can reign because strangers, exercising
their natural right of visitation (Besuchsrecht), can enter and reside there
temporarily.40 Civil society rather guarantees the right of permanent res-
idence (Gastrecht) for moralities of all kinds. This is why those who live
within its bounds are duty-bound to enjoy and protect some of its moral
ground rules.
These rules are today most often summarised, rather too glibly, in the
phrase ˜social capital™. ˜By the term “social capital” ™, one of its best ana-
lysts writes succinctly, ˜we refer to a syndrome of cognitive and moral
dispositions of citizens that lead them to extend trust to anonymous
fellow citizens (as well as the political authorities that, after all, one™s
fellow citizens have endowed with political power), to practise the “art
of association”, and to be attentive to public (as opposed to their own
narrowly circumscribed group-speci¬c) affairs and problems™.41 If a civil
society is rich in social capital in this sense, then what are its moral at-
tributes, we might ask? To begin with, a civil society is equipped with what
might be called ˜-ism-shields™. Its members cultivate the understanding “
traceable to eighteenth-century ¬gures like Thomas Paine, the inventor of
the modern term ˜civilised society™ “ that few things have brought greater
harm to the world than the belief on the part of individuals or groups or
parties, states, churches or whole nations that they are in sole possession
of ˜the truth™, and that therefore those who differ from them must be
not merely wrong-headed, but depraved, mad or wicked. The morals of
a civil society stand guard against presumption and arrogance and ha-
tred. Its morals are humble morals. They embrace the ancient dictum of
Al-Sha¬™i: ˜my opinion is correct but capable of error, and the opinion of
the other is erroneous but capable of being correct™. Thereby these morals

39 Jacques Derrida, Cosmopolites de tous les pays, encore un effort! (Paris, 1997). See also
the meditation on refuge and hospitality in Emmanuel Levinas, ˜Les Villes-refuges™, in
L™Au-del` du verset (Paris, 1982).
40 Immanuel Kant, Zum ewigen Frieden. Ein philosophischer Entwurf (Konigsberg, 1795),
third article.
41 Claus Offe, ˜Civil Society and Social Order: Demarcating and Combining Market, State
and Community™, Archives europ´ennes de sociologie, 41:1 (2000), p. 94.
198 Global Civil Society?

ensure as well deep suspicion of stereotypes “ unfounded rumours and
claims that others are stupid, or inferior, or downright evil.42 Civil soci-
eties undoubtedly nurture stereotypes. The public freedoms they culti-
vate enable individuals and groups to clown around (send the old out into
snowstorms, send all men to the moon, especially since they™ve already
been there) but also to say serious things with greater consequence, like:
blacks are all brawn and no brain, the Irish are romantic drunks, the Jews
are calculating money grubbers, and Muslim men are religious funda-
mentalists who maltreat women. But the fact that civil societies harbour
many moralities means that they also enable the heaping of profound
public suspicion upon such stereotypes “ and resistance to social com-
placency as well. Civil society can cultivate social mediocrity, a general
lack of adventurousness about life. Its members can smugly come to be-
lieve in their own good-natured tolerance and acceptance of the ˜other™:
the ˜good™ other, of course, the citizen who favours all the things we
favour, like parliamentary democracy, free markets, caring for the envi-
ronment, feminism, and freedom of opinion, of course. Philosophers of
ethics sometimes reinforce such smugness by giving the impression that
˜being good™ is natural.43 Not only is that conclusion historically na¨ve.
It also understates the dynamics of civil societies, their tendency to stim-
ulate their members™ sensitivity to the language in which differences are
described. They institute a learning process that by de¬nition cannot
come to an end: a process of recognising that it is possible to lead lives
very different than our own, and that coming to understand that accept-
ing or compromising with others whom we know little about, or do not
understand, or for whom we have little or no sympathy, is the mark of

To say that civil societies are havens of moral pluralism is to force a re-
thinking of the concept of civility. The moral language of civility has an
ambiguous history with ambiguous effects. During the early modern pe-
riod in Europe, and especially in the Atlantic region between the time of

42 See Isaiah Berlin, ˜Notes on Prejudice™, The New York Review of Books (October 18 2001),
p. 12.
43 An example is found in Simon Blackburn, Being Good. A Short Introduction to Ethics
(Oxford, 2001), section 21: ˜Gratitude to those who have done us good, sympathy with
those in pain or in trouble, and dislike of those who delight in causing pain and trouble,
are natural to us, and are good things. Almost any ethic will encourage them . . . these
are just features of how most of us are, and how all of us are at our best™. Note the
hesitation “ rather characteristic of life in a civil society “ about whether to speak of ˜us™
or ˜most of us™ (and one should add ˜some of us™) in matters of morals.
Ethics beyond borders 199

the American and French Revolutions, ˜civility™ and ˜civilised™ typically
referred to bodily manners and speech that gave others the positive im-
pression of being ˜polite™, ˜polished™, ˜cultivated™ “ in contradistinction
to the ˜rude™, ˜uncivill™, ˜impolite™, ˜bellicose™, ˜savage™ and ˜barbarian™
habits of the great unwashed majority of the population living at home
and abroad.44 The famous late seventeenth-century epistolary conver-
sation between the philosopher John Locke and the Dublin gentleman-
politician William Molyneux is a slow-motion exemplar of such attitudes:
their extended conversation is oiled by gentle appeals to informality, the
avoidance of inherited prejudice and febrile zeal, the celebration of en-
lightened ˜politeness™, talk of the love of ˜experimental knowledge™ and
˜truth™, and it is marked at one point by Locke™s good-mannered evasion
of his partner™s question concerning why Ireland “ and by implication
any colony “ should be subservient to England given the Lockean claim
that a people cannot be bound to government, except through their own
consent.45 The particular example reveals the more general point that
civility was a privileged discourse of the privileged; it supposed and re-
quired the exclusion of whole categories of the world™s population because
of such ˜inferior™ characteristics as skin colour, gender, religion or lack of
Most of these old meanings of civility “ with the exception of ˜bellicose™
or ˜violent™ “ understandably grate on the conscience of today™s friends
of civil society. For them, ˜civility™ has quite different connotations: it
means not only ˜non-violent™, but also ˜respectful of others™, ˜polite to-
wards strangers™, ˜tolerant™, even ˜generous™. The connotative change is
immense. It dovetails with these re¬‚ections on the morals of civil society,
and could be summarised in the following formula: civil are those indi-
viduals and groups who use such techniques as indirection, face-saving
and self-restraint to demonstrate their commitment, in tactful speech and
action and bodily manners, to the worldly principle of a peaceful plurality
of morals.
Civility in this sense implies that civil society is marked permanently
by moral ambivalence. ˜Morality is incurably aporetic™, observes Bauman.
˜Few choices (and only those which are relatively trivial and of minor

44 See Jean Starobinski, ˜Le mot civilisation™, Le temps de la r´¬‚exion (Paris, 1983), part 4,
pp. 13 ff.; Jorg Fisch, ˜Zivilisation, Kultur™, in Otto Brunner et al. (eds.), Geschichtliche
Grundbegriffe. Historisches Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland (Stuttgart,
1992), vol. 7, pp. 679“774; and Robert Hefner (ed.), Democratic Civility: The History and
Cross-Cultural Possibility of a Modern Political Ideal (New Brunswick, NJ, 1998). Compare
the revised philosophical account of civility in Mark Kingwell, A Civil Tongue. Justice,
Dialogue, and the Politics of Pluralism (University Park, PA, 1995).
45 First published in rather inaccurate form in Some Familiar Letters Between Mr Locke and
Several of his Friends (London, 1708).
200 Global Civil Society?

existential importance) are unambiguously good. The majority of moral
choices are made between contradictory impulses . . . The moral self
moves, feels and acts in the context of ambivalence and is shot through
with uncertainty.™46 Seen from inside this society, moral purity is an exis-
tential impossibility. Living a morality is always an ambiguous and trying
saga, in that it involves the visceral recognition that the morals of some
are an affront to others, or that they simply leave them cold. That is
why it entails as well the recognition that the price of sticking to one™s
morals through thick and thin (vividly highlighted in Nick Hornby™s novel
How To Be Good) is the loss of a sense of humour, and of what is called
common sense. Naturally, morals require moral judgements. Navigating
through daily life and social relations more generally requires constant
efforts at explaining differences, forging agreements, pretending that we
tolerate differences, criticising excesses, telling others off, being diplo-
matic, making compromises, avoiding clashes, patching up differences,
saying nothing, turning a blind eye. None of this adds up to moral consis-
tency. It certainly has nothing to do with moral universals, which do not
and cannot exist so long as a civil society remains a civil society. Moral
algebra “ trying like Procrustes to ¬‚ing morals onto a rack and to stretch
and reshape them so that they ¬t a regularised grid of certainties, so that
life can be lived ˜according to proper morals™ “ is anathema to civility.

Towards an ethic of civil society
So much for a brief summary of why global civil society should comprise a
wide variety of morals. Naturally a new question arises: should anything
46 From the stimulating re¬‚ections on morality of Zygmunt Bauman, Postmodern Ethics
(Oxford and Cambridge, MA, 1994), p. 11. The following paragraph draws upon Bau-
man, but it strongly rejects, by way of an immanent critique, what elsewhere I have
called his dogmatic pessimism in matters of politics and (in this work) his moral melan-
cholia. It is signi¬cant that Bauman™s account of ˜modernity™ is silent about either civil
society or public spheres or representative-legal-democratic norms and institutions. The
silence leads him to equate modernity with the essentially genocidal search for ˜an ethics
that is universal and “objectively founded” ™. Post-modernism is then linked with the
struggle to recognise a plurality of morals and the moral ambivalence of meaning-creating,
self-responsible subjects. Bauman does not see that this universalising prescription con-
tradicts itself. Nor does he ask after the tu quoque institutional preconditions “ civil
societies, public spheres, representative-legal-democratic institutions “ of moral ambiva-
lence. He leaves us only with a species of existentialism that could be said to resemble
either the former ˜dissident™ stance in central“eastern Europe (the anti-political ˜living
in the truth™) or a version of Michel Foucault™s morality of ˜souci de soi™, ˜self-concern™,
the self-realisation of the individual against any generally valid ethics. The genealogy
and limits of the former are discussed in my V´ clav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six
Acts (London and New York, 1999), pp. 268“86. My previous comments on Bauman™s
dogmatic pessimism are found in Civil Society: Old Images, New Visions (Oxford and
Stanford, 1998), pp. 127“9.
Ethics beyond borders 201

go within this society? Given that actually existing global civil society
is pushed and pulled internally by a large variety of morals, some of
which (like global terrorist networks) are morally dubious to say the least,
can and must we conclude that each and every one of these morals be
understood as ˜valid™ or ˜legitimate™? The answer is a resounding ˜no™,
and not only because “ pace the School of Cantankerousness “ letting
hundreds of ¬‚owers bloom will lead sooner or later to the tyranny of
weeds. The negative answer is driven by counterfactual reasoning to ask
after the positive conditions of possibility of a plurality of morals. Here
we come to ask after the universalisable Ethic of global civil society.
This society can be seen as the ethical conditio sine qua non of moral
pluralism. Insofar as global civil society has to do with an ethos in the strict
original meaning of the word, that is, with the home, the residence, the
familiar place of dwelling, the manner in which we relate to ourselves in re-
lation to others, this society and its institutional structures enable morals
to survive and thrive. Considered as an ethical ideal, global civil society
parts company with all versions of the old-fashioned, originally Platonic
ideal of gathering together and subsuming all differences within a single
Universal Ideal. It has no truck with Gleichschaltung in any form. It assid-
uously resists all political campaigns to asphyxiate differences and above
all eliminate all obstreperous and ˜wild™ sources of moral judgement. In
this respect, the ethic of global civil society rejects the new-fangled post-
modernist glori¬cation of singularity “ the dogmatic emphasis on the
variety of different contexts and ideals. The ethic of global civil society
steers a course through Plato and post-modernism, and in doing so it
goes beyond each of these two extreme ways of thinking about ethics.
Like post-modernism and other species of pluralism, the ethic of global
civil society celebrates social diversity, but it does so by asking after the
universal preconditions of dynamic social diversity. It takes a fresh look
at what was earlier described as the problem of alterity. It points espe-
cially to the need to think against common sense views of clashes and
con¬‚icts among morals, to see instead that in all situations except those
in which violence has erupted, ˜our™ morals and ˜their™ morals, self and
other, the internal and the external, are not in fact opposites, but are
always inside one another. Which is to say, to put it most simply, that the
durable co-existence of many moral ways of life requires each to accept
unconditionally the need for the institutions of a civil society.
So understood, global civil society is not only (to use the words of
Hannah Arendt) a space within which ˜the in¬nite plurality and differ-
entiation of human beings™47 can appeal and ¬‚ourish. It is also an ethical

47 Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (London, 1973), p. 438.
202 Global Civil Society?

ideal that is universally applicable “ in China no less than in Chile, in
Afghanistan as well as Andorra “ precisely because it is the only ethic
capable of recognising and respecting a genuine plurality of social differ-
ences. Of course, in practice, this universal ethic can be rejected. A gun
may even be waved about, or electrodes applied to someone™s genitals, to
make the point painfully clear. The structures of a global civil society can
be mocked, cunningly avoided, killed off. But those who so reject those
structures perforce suppose that they themselves are above and beyond
all idle chatter about morals “ that the way they live, or intend to live, is
the way everybody else should live. Like all Robespierres of the world,
they get on with the job of ushering in the bright dawn of universal satis-
faction “ their own satisfaction “ sealing their work if necessary with fear
and blood. They pursue their First Principle and in so doing exterminate
Global civil society is not an ethical First Principle in this sense. It
cannot and should not be compared to the belief in Universal Satisfac-
tion, or a God, or to any other species of other-worldly or this-worldly
Universal Principle that subordinates and sti¬‚es all particularities. Global
civil society is rather to be interpreted as an implied logical and institu-
tional precondition of the survival and ¬‚ourishing of a genuine plurality
of different ideals and forms of life. This precondition is anchored within
the actually existing global civil society, whose functioning relies upon
the more or less unuttered inference that it is a space of many ideals and
ways of life, and that civil society for that reason is a good thing. It is as
if global civil society requires each of its participants or potential mem-
bers to sign a contract: to acknowledge and to respect the principle of
global civil society as a universal ethical principle that guarantees respect
for their moral differences.
The ethic of global civil society is of course not ˜timeless™. It has a past
history and an uncertain future. It could be that it will perish, the victim
of force of arms or accumulations of arrogant power. It is not a trans-
historical or supra-historical ideal in any conventional sense. Yet in spite
of its mutability, global civil society is not just one moral norm among
others. Like a large and elaborate table that serves as the structure that
facilitates a round-table meeting “ or like the network of air traf¬c con-
trol systems that span the globe “ global civil society is a ˜categorical™ “
not a ˜hypothetical™ “ requirement in the sense of Kant. Everyone who
likes participating within global civil society, or who wants to, must ob-
serve its normative rules. It is categorical, without any ifs and buts, in
that it is the condition of possibility of the dynamic interactions among
its manifold social participants. Global civil society promotes awareness
of differences, but it also implies and requires awareness of connections.
Ethics beyond borders 203

In order for its differences to be recognised and contested as such, global
civil society must be present as a common framework of intelligibility that
encompasses the principles, means, modes and substance of disagree-
ment. Understood in this way, global civil society is a universal ethical
ideal. But it is a universal principle with a difference. It is the universal
precondition of the open acceptance of difference. In the absence of its
institutional structures, different individuals, groups, movements and or-
ganisations cannot otherwise co-exist peacefully. So, those who support it
should not be embarrassed by questions about its ˜founding™ philosophic
or ethical principles. The fact is that it does not have need of any such
First Principles.
Bassam Tibi has correctly observed that the ethic of a civil society
serves as something of a bridge linking differences among widely dif-
ferent societies equipped with different morals.48 This is so, but the
non-foundationalist understanding of global civil society sketched here is
nonetheless vulnerable to those forces “ individuals, groups, movements,
organisations “ that want nothing of social pluralism and everything of
their own particular way of life. Bombers with a bee in their bonnet de-
termined to level a concrete shopping mall onto the heads of shoppers,
angry artillery men pounding civilian life into the ground, fat cats self-
ishly preoccupied with adding to their wealth and income at the expense
of others: what does the ethic of global civil society have to say to such
¬gures? Quite a lot. In principle, the ethic of global civil society does not
tolerate its intolerant opponents. It cannot do so because that would be to
contradict and weaken its own spirit of generosity. The friends of global
society must always be on the look-out for its opponents, who cannot
be allowed to experiment on others with their own winner-take-all ob-
sessions. Monism is always and everywhere a threat to the pluralism of
civil society. There are of course no hard-and-fast rules for spotting and
dealing with monist opponents of global civil society. There is simply no
substitute for the task of making dif¬cult judgements in particular con-
texts, which is why the friends of global civil society must always keep
an open mind about the different forms of monism that spring up within
its spaces, or threaten it from outside. Some forms of monism “ like fas-
cist cells “ have monistic effects from start to ¬nish. Other forms have
unintended mixed effects “ defences of ˜the nation™ are a case in point “
while sometimes there are cases “ think of the protest of Romantic artists
and their supporters against modernity “ that end up having pluralising

48 Bassam Tibi, ˜The Cultural Underpinning of Civil Society in Islamic Civilization™, in
Elisabeth Ozdalga and Sune Persson, Civil Society, Democracy and the Muslim World
(Istanbul, 1997), pp. 23“31.
204 Global Civil Society?

effects on actually existing civil societies by adding to their repertoire of

Defensive means
Sensitivity to ambiguity and awareness of irony are important compo-
nents of the ethic of global civil society, as is the concern for developing a
variety of sensible techniques for handling its opponents. The arsenals of
global civil society can be stocked with various defensive means. Broadly
speaking, they are of two types. Political, legal and police“military means
emanate from within governmental institutions and they are by de¬nition
˜external™ to the institutions of global civil society. They can powerfully
function as enabling devices for the non-governmental sphere, for in-
stance by providing military and police protection; casting nets of legal
contracts over individuals and whole social groups; enabling the legal
representation of social grievances through the courts; and disbursing of
¬nancial resources in support of the infrastructures of global civil society.
These governmental sources of protection of pluralism “ treated in the
previous section “ can in principle be supplemented by non-governmental
means that arise from within global civil society itself.
With the clear exception of money-mediated market relations, these
social mechanisms have in general been poorly researched and for rea-
sons of space can be only mentioned here. They include lots of different
and interesting practices with enigmatic effects. Many living within a
civil society sense in their own way the truth of Oscar Wilde™s one-liner:
˜Any preoccupation with ideas of what is right or wrong in conduct
shows an arrested intellectual development.™49 That is to say, a well-
developed sense of humour, especially of the kind that pricks the pride
of the pompous, is an important social lubricant, if only because it en-
courages a healthy appreciation of the ironies of life. Then there are
other non-governmental weapons in defence of civility: the learned art of

49 Oscar Wilde, The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde (Leicester, 1987), p. 1113. The
˜democratisation™ of humour, a speci¬cally modern development, contrasts with the
treatment of humour as bad taste among the early modern European upper classes.
˜Jesters, satyrs, peasants, drunks, bagpipe-players™, comments Johan Verberckmoes,
˜were all presumed to be the opposite of what a civilized person was supposed to be™
([Schertsen, schimpen en schateren: Geschiedenis van het lachen in de zuidelijke Nederlan-
den, zestiende en zeventiende eeuw], Nijmegen, 1998, p. 47, cited in Benjamin Roberts,
˜Humor™, in Peter N. Stearns (ed.), Encyclopedia of European Social History. From 1350 to
2000, Detroit, 2001, vol. 5, p. 132). Only later, roughly around the time of the eighteenth-
century modernisation of the old language of civil society, did ˜civilised™ people come to
value humour as a substitute for ¬ghting duels, as a technique for resolving differences
with the witty tongue rather than the sword. The role of humour in this civilising process
deserves much greater attention from researchers.
Ethics beyond borders 205

learning through exposure to otherness “ ˜imparative™ reasoning50 “ and
of negotiating and striking compromises that are mutually agreeable, for
instance through conferences and parallel summits; the persuasion of
others through the force of better arguments, or what Jurgen Habermas
has famously called ˜communicative action orientated to reaching con-
sensus™ (Verst¨ ndigungsorientierten Handelns); the exercise of civil virtues
like charity, meekness, and humility51 ; the ostracism of uncivil offenders
through shame campaigns; and cultivating the ability to live according
to the standard that there can be no future for global civil society unless
there is forgiveness of others who have wronged.

Long-distance responsibilities
These are just some examples of the governmental and non-governmental
mechanisms that can be used to combat the various forms of dogma-
tism and hostility that can tear apart the delicate tissues of global civil
society. These mechanisms may not always be effective and at certain
times and places they may well have contradictory effects. The only thing
that is certain is that those who suppose that global civil society can do
without them are na¨ve. This civil society is a shaky order. It contains
forces of stability and forces of entropy; its universal potential is con-
stantly thwarted; its vision of a uni¬cation of worlds is bogged down
in misunderstandings and confusions. Global civil society has no ˜natu-
ral™ tendency towards harmony. From within and without it is subject to
perennial threats, above all those from power groups that want nothing
of its pluralism. That is why the ethic of global civil society “ an ethic
without foundations “ cannot and should not be a soft touch. In the face
of a challenge, it is not squeamish. In the absence of a challenge, it is not
mopish, a willing victim of ennui. Global civil society is a militant ethic.
It is unrelenting in its quest to secure freedom and equality and solidarity
through non-governmental links that stretch peacefully to all four cor-
ners of the planet. It feels discomfort in the presence of signs like Linea
de policia por favor no cruzar. Borders are bricked-up windows, armed
force, guard dogs, crows™-nests, passports, barbed wire, walls sprayed
with graf¬ti and gang-signs. The ethic of global civil society is certainly
not soft-witted about violent threats to its ethos. It knows that there are

50 From imparare (Lat.: learning through interaction with others who are different). See
Raimundo Panikkar, ˜What is Comparative Philosophy Comparing?™, in Gerald J.
Larson and Eliot Deutsch (eds.), Interpreting Across Cultures: New Essays in Compara-
tive Philosophy (Princeton, 1988), pp. 116“36.
51 See my remarks on Norberto Bobbio™s In Praise of Meekness. Essays on Ethics and Politics
(Cambridge and London, 2000), in CSD Bulletin, 9:1 (Winter 2001“2), pp. 15“16.
206 Global Civil Society?

times when violence must be used as a last line of defence to counter such
threats.52 But “ the quali¬cation is unconditional “ there is one striking
exception to this rule: it concerns instruments of violence that have the
technical potential to wipe civil society off the face of the earth.
The unavoidable subject of ethics is made all the more unavoidable
because a momentous ethical question now overshadows global civil so-
ciety. No previous world view has had to cope with it: it is the issue of
whether and why human life on earth should continue. Hans Jonas has
pointed out that before modern times this issue did not arise. Matters of
good and evil were typically local affairs. There was concern with ulti-
mate matters, like the creation of the world and gods and God, certainly.
And rulers of empires were required to practise the art of long-distance
thinking and planning. Yet the fact is that before modern times the ethical
universe of most people, rulers and ruled alike, was neighbourly. Actions
had mainly local effects and normative judgements about those actions
were correspondingly local matters; since action with long-distance ef-
fects was unlikely or impossible for technical reasons “ there were no
ocean-going warships, jet engines, telegraph systems or an Internet “
matters of right and wrong were restricted to the here and now. Ethics
were rooted in geographic proximity. ˜All this has decisively changed™,
Jonas writes. ˜Modern technology has introduced actions of such novel
scale, objects, and consequences that the framework of former ethics can
no longer contain them.™53 Under modern conditions, doers and their
deeds have long-distance effects, and the consequence is that the stocks of
ethical questions and answers that we have inherited from the past are far
too parochial to address these global developments. The globalisation of
human power, including the technological power to destroy life on earth,
reveals that ethical judgements rooted in immediate neighbourhoods and
those near and dear to us, while of continuing personal relevance and
necessity, are wholly inadequate to the problems now confronting every
person living on the planet. These problems are distinguished not only
by their implications for the species as a whole, rather than for just a few,
but also by their invisibility. For instance, parents and grandparents nor-
mally know that they have moral obligations to feed, clothe, teach and
love their children “ and normally they are inventive in ¬nding ways of
satisfying these obligations. They can see, and judge, the effects of their
own actions. Trouble sets in when human actions, or non-actions, begin

52 This point is developed at length in John Keane, ˜Judging Violence™, in Re¬‚ections on
Violence (London and New York, 1995), pp. 61“104.
53 Hans Jonas, Philosophical Essays: From Ancient Creed to Technological Man (Englewood
Cliffs, 1974), pp. 7“8; see also his Das Prinzip Verantwortung. Versuch einer Ethik fur die
technologische Zivilisation (Frankfurt am Main, 1979), pp. 36, 80, 86, 91, 94.
Ethics beyond borders 207

to have far-away effects. Parents and grandparents may not know of these
effects, and so remain blissfully unworried about them. If they do know
about them, then they may be told, or come to believe, that others “ in
far-away institutions “ are taking care of those problems. In either case,
these parents and grandparents feel little or no interest in, let alone the
capacity or obligation to do anything about, those problems.
Enter, stage centre, a global problem like nuclear weapons. The story
is told that when the scientist Niels Bohr arrived at Los Alamos in 1943,
his ¬rst serious question was: ˜Is it really big enough?™54 He was of course
referring to the nuclear bomb and whether it would be powerful enough
to both end a world war and big enough to challenge humanity to reach
beyond man-made death to a world that was peaceful and open unto it-
self. Bohr™s question can be answered retrospectively in a variety of ways.
Whether the bomb dropped on Hiroshima subsequently ˜kept the peace™
is deeply questionable (Peace for whom? How can the claim be veri¬ed?
What about the present-day nuclear build-up?). It certainly turned the
screw, to make the prospect of future war unendurable, if only because
it signalled a gigantic increase in the technical capacity to kill and maim
people and their environment “ and to do so in a frighteningly easy man-
ner. The invention and deployment of nuclear weapons throws into ques-
tion the huge gap between human omnipotence and human emptiness in
matters of ethics. Nuclear weapons have visible implications for all peo-
ple in all local milieux, including households. The global circulation of
the ¬rst images and eye-witness accounts of the grisly effects of atomic
weapons dropped on human beings marked the beginning of this global
recognition of a profound ethical problem concerning what some human
beings do to others.55 Since that time, the same problem has not gone
away, thanks to the chemical and political fall-out and long-term radiat-
ing effects of the splitting of the atom. Untold numbers of households
around the world “ including my own, in the Australia of my childhood “
have suffered death, confusion and disruption at the hands of nuclear
testing programmes. The bomb has had globalising effects, among which
is the circulation around the world of a chilling clutch of questions: Are
some human beings entitled to play with the lives of others, or all oth-
ers, on a world scale? Would a major nuclear war or nuclear accident be
such a bad thing? Why should there continue to be life on earth? Perhaps
humanity, like miserable individuals, has the right to suicide? If not, why
54 From the third of the unpublished lectures of Robert Oppenheimer, ˜Niels Bohr and his
Times™ (1963), cited in Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb (New York and
London, 1988), p. 778.
55 Robert Jay Lifton, Death in Life (New York, 1967).
208 Global Civil Society?

These questions are disturbing, but most de¬nitely warranted, for there
are plausible reasons for expecting that human life may well not or cannot
survive. Think just for a few seconds of the nuclear weapons stockpiled
around the world, or the possibility of a chemical or biological weapons
strike by apocalyptic terrorists, or the current radical alteration of the
earth™s ecosystem by homo sapiens. Under pressure from these facts alone,
there is some probability that the collective suicide of humanity will hap-
pen because of design, or negligence, or unintended consequence. Hans
Jonas thought that the long-range effects of technological inventions like
nuclear weapons had to be met with a new ˜¬rst duty™ of a new ethics:
the urgent duty of all people to visualise and then ponder the long-range
effects of modern technologies. If taken to heart, and acted upon, this
duty would lead to a heightened appreciation of just how powerful and
successful and potentially destructive at least some of these technologies
are. The ¬rst duty of ethics is to be afraid of the uncertainty that these
technologies bring. ˜The prophecy of doom is to be given greater heed
than the prophecy of bliss™, he concludes. The ¬rst priority in matters
of global ethics is the public cultivation of ˜an ethics of preservation and
prevention, not of progress and perfection™.56
Jonas is right, but the matter of global ethics cannot and should not be
left hanging on that soberly apocalyptic note. Reaching for the emergency
brake is in some spheres, like the nuclear problem, undoubtedly neces-
sary, but it is not very inspiring. A global ethics needs to open its eyes
and stretch out its hands, to embrace something wholly more positive.
A start could be made by giving recognition to something new that has
been born: the sense among many millions of the world™s population that
they are living as citizens within a civil society that stretches to all four
corners of this planet. This global civil society is a haven of difference and
identity “ a space of many different, overlapping and con¬‚icting morali-
ties. Those who dwell within it have at least one basic thing in common:
they have an ethical aversion to grandiose, pompous, power-hungry ac-
tions of those who suppose, falsely, that they are God, and try to act like
God. This ethics of pluralism is not negotiable, and it is why civil society,
the space of multiple moralities, responds in a thousand different ways
to the question, posed by Jonas, as to why the human species should
not terminate its own existence: my family, my children; I love my work;
I believe in God; life™s too much fun. Others would respond by playing
music, or drawing and painting, or rolling backgammon dice with others,
or hopping on their mountain bikes, or by preparing their ¬shing

56 Jonas, Das Prinzip Verantwortung, p. 70.
Ethics beyond borders 209

Meanwhile, sustained by such responses, an ethic of global civil society
puts pressure on any and all actors “ within the governmental or non-
governmental domains “ who are tempted to play dangerous games with
humankind and its biosphere. This universal ethic heaps doubt on their
arrogance. It calls upon them to restrain themselves “ and if they fail
to do that, the ethic of global civil society, in the name of the supreme
ethical obligation to respect humanity in all its diversity, calls for tough
action, in the form of practical moratoria on the playing of suicidal power
games in any form. Naturally, the ethic of global civil society will still have
its opponents. They will table their objections, their ifs and buts. They
will grimace and snarl, or prepare their strategies. It would be interest-
ing to know why these opponents are indifferent to questions about why
human life on earth should survive. Perhaps the faceless ¬gures of con-
temporary power “ and well-known power experts like Henry Kissinger,
Ariel Sharon, Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic, Osama bin Laden,
George Bush, or Jiang Zemin “ have more de¬nitive and more compelling
answers than that posed by the civil society ethic? Perhaps they should be
asked to explain their indifference, or their cynicism? What might they
Further reading

Readers interested in deepening their understanding of the subject may
wish to consult the following additional literature on global civil society,
written at different moments during the twentieth century by specialists in
various academic disciplines. The publisher has used its best endeavours
to ensure that the URLs for external websites referred to in this book are
correct and active at the time of going to press. However, the publisher
has no responsibility for the websites and can make no guarantee that a
site will remain live or that the content is or will remain appropriate.
For generous and competent research assistance in the preparation of
this and other parts of the book, and for the expert preparation of the
index, I should like to thank Martyn Oliver.

Jeffrey C. Alexander (ed.), Real Civil Societies. Dilemmas of Institutionalization
(London, 1998)
Helmut Anheier et al. (eds.), Global Civil Society 2001 (Oxford, 2001)
Raymond Aron, ˜The Dawn of Universal History™, in Miriam Conant (ed.),
Politics and History. Selected Essays by Raymond Aron (New York and
London, 1978)
Roland Axtmann, ˜Kulturelle Globalisierung, kollektive Identit¨ t und demo-
kratischer Nationalstaat™, in Leviathan, 23:1(1995), pp. 87“101
Bertrand Badie, L™´tat import´: L™occidentalisation de l™ordre politique (Paris,
e e
Gideon Baker, ˜The Taming of the Idea of Civil Society™, Democratization, 6:3
(Autumn 1999), pp. 1“29
Benjamin Barber, Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism are Reshaping
the World (New York, 1995)
Gary J. Bass, Stay the Hand of Vengeance. The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals
(Princeton and Oxford, 2000)
Ulrich Beck, What is Globalization? (Cambridge, 2000)
John Boli and George N. Thomas (eds.), Constructing World Culture: International
Non-Governmental Organizations Since 1875 (Stanford, 1999)
Fernand Braudel, Civilization and Capitalism. 15th“18th Century, vol. 1 (London,
Hedley Bull and Adam Watson (eds.), The Expansion of International Society
(Oxford, 1984)

Further reading 211

John Burbidge (ed.), Beyond Prince and Merchant: Citizen Participation and the Rise
of Civil Society (New York, 1997)
David Callahan, ˜What is Global Civil Society?™ www.civnet/org/journal/vol3no1/
Simone Chambers and Will Kymlicka (eds.), Alternative Conceptions of Civil
Society (Princeton, 2000)
Neera Chandhoke, State and Civil Society. Explorations in Political Theory (Delhi,
Neera Chandhoke ˜The “Civil” and the “Political” in Civil Society™, Democrati-
zation, 8:2 (2001), pp. 1“24
Steve Charnovitz, ˜Two Centuries of Participation: NGOs and International
Governance™, Michigan Journal of International Law, 18:2 (Winter 1997),
pp. 183“286
Dominique Colas, Le Glaive et le ¬‚´au: G´n´alogie du fanatisme et de la soci´t´ civile
e ee ee
(Paris, 1992)
Fred R. Dallmayr, ˜Globalization from Below™, International Politics, 36 (Septem-
ber 1999)
Jacques Derrida, Cosmopolites de tous les pays, encore un effort! (Paris, 1997)
John Dewey, ˜Civil Society and the Political State™, in Jo Ann Boydston (ed.),
John Dewey. The Middle Works, 1899“1924 (Carbondale and Edwardsville,
Peter Dicken, Global Shift. Transforming the World Economy, 3rd edn., (London,
Nigel Dower, World Ethics: The New Agenda (Edinburgh, 1998)
Tim Dunne and Nicholas J. Wheeler (eds.), Human Rights in Global Politics
(Cambridge, 1999)
Michael Edwards, Future Positive. International Co-Operation in the 21st Century
(London, 2000)
Michael Edwards and John Gaventa (eds.), Global Citizen Action (Boulder, 2001)
Richard Falk, ˜The World Order Between Inter-State Law and the Law of
Humanity: The Role of Civil Society Institutions™, in Explorations at the Edge
of Time: The Prospects for World Order (Philadelphia, 1992)
Richard Falk, Predatory Globalization. A Critique (Oxford, 1999)
Felipe Fern´ ndez-Armesto, Civilizations (London, 2000)
A. M. Florini (ed.), The Third Force. The Rise of Transnational Civil Society (Tokyo
and Washington, DC, 2000)
Ernst Gellner, Conditions of Liberty. Civil Society and Its Rivals (London, 1994)
Gary Geref¬ and Miguel Korzeniewicz (eds.), Commodity Chains and Global
Capitalism (Westport, CT, 1994)
Jurgen Habermas, ˜Civil Society and the Political Public Sphere™, in Between Facts
and Norms (Cambridge, MA, 1996)
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge, MA and London, 2000)
Pierre Hassner, La violence et la paix: de la bombe atomique au nettoyage ethnique
(Paris, 1995)
Robert Hefner (ed.), Democratic Civility: The History and Cross-Cultural Possibility
of a Modern Political Ideal (New Brunswick, NJ, 1998)
David Held and Anthony McGrew (eds.), The Global Transformations Reader
(Oxford, 2000)
212 Further reading

Eric Hobsbawn, The Age of Empire 1875“1914 (New York, 1989)
Peter J. Hugill, Global Communications Since 1844. Geopolitics and Technology
(Baltimore and London, 1999)
Michael Ignatieff, Virtual War (London, 2000)
Harold James, The End of Globalization: Lessons from the Great Depression
(Cambridge, MA, 2001)
Sudipta Kaviraj and Sunil Khilnani (eds.), Civil Society: History and Possibilities
(Cambridge and New York, 2001)
John Keane, ˜Structural Transformations of the Public Sphere™, The Communica-
tion Review, 1:1 (1995)
John Keane, Civil Society: Old Images, New Visions (Oxford and Stanford, 1998)
John Keane (ed.), Civil Society and the State: New European Perspectives (London,


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