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


  • Neil Walker


This paper examines the explicit linkage in the recent work of Habermas betweencosmopolitanism 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 rightsregimes 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Neil Walker, 2005. "Making a World of Difference? Habermas, Cosmopolitanism and the Constitutionalization of International Law," EUI-LAW Working Papers 17, European University Institute (EUI), Department of Law.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:euilaw:p0033

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    constitution building; legitimacy; international agreements; multilevel governance; law;

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