Copyright Sociological Research Online, 1999


Alan Scott (1999) 'War and the Public Intellectual: Cosmopolitanism and Anti-Cosmopolitanism in the Kosovo Debate in Germany'
Sociological Research Online, vol. 4, no. 2, <>

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Received: 03/06/99      Accepted: 18/06/99      Published: 30/6/99


NATO's intervention in Kosovo dramatically highlighted the differences and disagreements between cosmopolitans and their critics. This article offers a critically summary of the arguments of both camps (and various positions within them) as they unfolded in the German media, and particularly in the broadsheet press, during the NATO bombing campaign. An attempt is made to fill in the broader context by pointing out some differences between the debates in Britain and those in Germany. While the implications and possible weaknesses of the cosmopolitan position is the main focus, the role of public intellectuals the media is also discussed.

Cosmopolitanism and Anti-cosmopolitanism; Intellectuals and the Media; Kosovo


If we can define a public intellectual sociologically as someone who has shaken off the duties, responsibilities and restrictions of dependence upon an institution (usually a university) by finding a wider audience than that of the lecture theatre (see, Scott 1997a: 59-61), then what new responsibilities are attached to the new role? What is the 'price' of this freedom? What new expectations does it excite? The short answer is the duty to have a view on all matters of public concern; to be able to offer an opinion on a range of issues far beyond the professional specialism on which the career of the intellectual was originally built and upon which it, in some tenuous sense, remains parasitic. Nothing illustrates this better than war. Yet at a time when British sociologists are encouraging each other once more to take on the role of the public intellectual after the wilderness years (eg. Anthony Giddens's address to the 1999 BSA Conference), there has as yet been little said from this corner on the current intervention in Kosovo.[1] The reason is not difficult to discern. The very government on which the hopes of many would-be public intellectuals are now so firmly pinned is itself a leading participant in that intervention.[2] One result of this relative silence is that the critique of the war against Yugoslavia in Britain has been largely left to veteran left-wing politicians and to writers, notably of course Harold Pinter. But, rather like old generals, these people have been fighting the last campaign by speaking of this war as though it were merely another example of states (illegally) pursuing their interests within an international system of nation states doing likewise. This is in marked contrast to the debate in the German press in which social scientists have played a significant role. What I shall do here is briefly introduce and review a highly selective section of that debate and point to some implications for social scientists of adopting seriously a role in wider public debates.

Two things are striking about the reporting of the bombing campaign in the German broadsheet press. First, there is much more criticism of NATO's campaign; secondly, that criticism has generally not questioned either the ends or the motives of the NATO leadership, but focused on the appropriateness of the means. It is almost as though Weber's methodological advice to social scientists (focus your critique on means not ends because no one is an expert on ends) has been more widely adopted (Weber 1989 [1919]). At least up to the point where Foreign Minister Joscha Fischer was hit by a paint bomb, much of the German reaction to the intervention remained critical but not emotive. One possible explanation for this is that much of the heated debate around principles (ends) had already taken place during the Gulf War when many leading post-war left intellectuals such as Hans Magnus Enzenberger and members of the 68 generation, had, in the eyes of their critics at least, 'turned coat' and supported the West's intervention in Iraq. A further reason is the degree of self-censorship, first, in the face of the very real possibility that the bombing campaign could split the Green Party, thereby destroying the fledgling Red-Green coalition government (Fischer has been quoted as asking 'Why do we have to govern right now?') and, secondly, in light of the painful realization that the two basic principles of German post-war pacifism - 'never again war' and 'never again genocide' - could come into conflict. This restraint has been inconsistent with principled criticism coming from some leading Green Party politicians, for example Jürgen Trittin, and ex-Finance Minister Oskar Lafontaine (SPD). Furthermore, both Fischer and Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping have had to face hostile audiences.[3]

To return to the press debate. Those German intellectuals who have offered a view and analysis of the campaign against Yugoslavia have emphasized the discontinuity between this and previous wars; have empathized its uniqueness. Thus, for example, the sociologist Ulrich Beck has characterized it as the first 'post-national' war (Süddeutsche Zeitung, no. 98, 19th April 1999). But the most substantial contribution to date has come from Jürgen Habermas in a long analytical piece to which Die Zeit (no. 18, 29th April 1999) gave over several pages, including its front page. In this article Habermas sets out the cosmopolitan case in support of NATO's action, though he is careful not to commit himself to unquestioning or unconditional support.[4]

The Cosmopolitans

The core argument of Habermas's piece is clear from the title 'Bestiality and humanity: a war on the boundary between law and morality'. He first asserts a clear break between this and previous wars because the [not always successful] effort to protect the Serbian civilian population marks a 'turning away from the conduct of war as total war that has shaped the physiognomy of the century which is coming to its close' (p.1). He also notes and welcomes the relative lack of a public language of 'embracing fate' (Schicksalssehnsucht) which was still evident during the Gulf War. But what most strikes Habermas is the fact that the critics of the war must address not hardened realists for whom 'reasons of state' (Staatsräson) are foremost but rather the 'legal pacifism' of the new Red-Green coalition (and by extension that of the other liberal and centre-left NATO governments). Thus he characterizes the conflict between those who oppose and those who defend the intervention as one between 'conviction pacifists' (Gesinnungspazifisten) and legal pacifists. This way of setting out the issues evokes Max Weber's famous distinction between Gesinnungs- and Verantwortungsethik (ethic of conviction and ethic of responsibility), but the deeper appeal is to Kant's notion of perpetual peace and to the no less Kantian idea of the rights of the world-citizen (Weltbürger). This is an appeal that, he argues, is already implicit in the efforts of Fischer and Scharping to 'place on the agenda the transformation of rights under international law into the rights of the world-citizen'.[5] The kind of legal pacifism implied by both the war against Yugoslavia and the Law Lords' judgements in the Pinochet case has fundamental implications:

Legal pacifism wants not only to enclose latent states of war between sovereign states within international law, but also absorb these into the complete legal framework of a cosmopolitan order... Direct membership of an association of world-citizens would also protect state citizens against the despotism of their own governments. (p.1)

That such moral arguments have priority also has a conjectural significance for Germany, Habermas argues, because the debate has moved away from issues of German history (in effect, its specific post-holocaust responsibilities) and the constitutional consequences of that history and those responsibilities. This has brought the debate in Germany into line with that in other Western countries and, if there is a division, it is now between Continental Europe and the Anglo-American axis (thus Habermas, though disputes over ground troops suggest that the USA may be closer to the Continental than to the British position).

But Habermas's more central aim is to argue that while under international law intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign state is illegal, under a fully-fledged law grounded in rights of the world-citizen it need not be. Thus those critics of NATO who insist on the illegality of the action against Yugoslavia are implicitly resting their case on a legal order in which human rights are 'underinstitutionalized'. Conversely, the highly 'moralistic' tone of the justification of the intervention is contingent - i.e. were the rights of the world-citizen more fully institutionalized the justification could be expressed in the language of procedure and law rather than that of abstract moral principles. It is on the transition between international law and a cosmopolitan legal order, and on the implication of the war in Kosovo for that transition, that Habermas focuses: 'on Western interpretation, the war in Kosovo could mean a step on the way from classical international law towards the cosmopolitan rights of a society of world-citizens' (p1). This is in effect also the West's (and Habermas's) defence for NATO's acting in the absence of a UN Security Council mandate. On the other hand, a commitment to cosmopolitanism - to the fulfilment of the promise of the recognition of full human rights already implicit in the international agreements and agencies - is the only way that NATO can clarify and justify its actions in the face of the 'realist' suspicion of disguised interests and double standards. Thus the real target of Habermas's critique is not any living critic of the war (either from the left or the right) but the sceptical ghostly voice of Carl Schmitt ('whoever says "humanity" seeks to deceive').

If I have understood Habermas's intentions correctly here, he aims (i) to align the arguments of convictions-pacifist critics of the war over Kosovo with company which they would not normally wish to keep (namely, Schmittian realists); (ii) to point out to NATO states that their only rational defence against the Schmittian critique - i.e. against the accusation of disguised interests and double standards - is a full-blown commitment to the new cosmopolitan order. A military metaphor is irresistible. Habermas's pincer movement encloses both conviction pacifists and Western states less than full-heatedly committed to the language of a universal morality which they repeatedly invoke in the grip of a signal argument the conclusion of which is:

Only when human rights have found their 'place' within an world-wide democratic legal order in the same way that basic rights have within our national constitutions, will we also be able to assume on a global level that the addressees of these rights can at the same time think of themselves as their authors. (p.7)

For Habermas, the central contradiction of the liberal order (manifest in international law) is that while violence has been tamed within constitutional states to a historically unprecedented degree, the citizen as human subject is nevertheless 'placed at the disposal' of the, sometimes arbitrary, will of his/her nation state with no way of ensuring that these states are themselves constitutional and no clear (i.e. fully legally sanctioned) way of intervening where they are not. Nothing less than a move towards a resolution of this contradiction can justify the current intervention. This is the very high price that NATO must pay for Habermas's - even conditional - support!

A less philosophical defence of cosmopolitanism is offered by the sociologist Wolfgang Sofsky, author of the excellent Order of Terror. But this time it is a defence of the general principles of cosmopolitanism combined with a critique of NATO's intervention judged against cosmopolitan criteria. Sofsky notes that 'the air attacks resemble a police operation on the outer edges of empire' (Die Zeit, no. 21, 20th May 1999, p.56). His intention in this powerfully written article is not so much to question the legitimacy of NATO's intervention but to point out the illusions on which it is, in his view, based: 'missiles, laser-guided bombs and cruise missiles are the ideal weapons of a society which believes in a moral mission, but is unwilling to pay a high price' (p.56). This point is made even more sharply by Daniel Cohn-Bendit (Cohn-Bendit, D. 1999)in an interview in the same edition of Die Zeit: 'the intervention was an attempt to intervene without intervening' (p.6). Certainly Cohn-Bendit, but I suspect also Sofsky represent a non-pacifist left position which challenges the a priori opposition in much of the SPD and Bündnis90/die Grünen (Green Party) to the use of ground forces. Sofsky argues that ethnic cleansing could not have been achieved through Serbian government policy alone, but entailed the mobilization of large and decentralized forces (Meuten - packs/mobs -- and Banden - gangs). For this reason, not only did the air war fail to halt the process, but made matters worse by unleashing those decentralized forces: 'the air war has neither caused nor precipitated the systematic mass ethnic expulsion, but it has accelerated it by releasing the gangs from the reins of central control and providing them with additional motives for murder: revenge and drive for retribution' (p.56). This exclusive reliance on what Cohn-Bendit dubs 'Nintendo war' causes Sofsky to question the humanitarian motives of the NATO intervention: 'if this was really all about humanitarian assistance, not only would field hospitals have been prepared, but also there would have been an immediate effort to open up bridgeheads, protected areas and escape routes'. The failure to do these things he ascribes to lack of political will (though it may well be better ascribed to errors of calculation). Sofsky concludes:

The only moral justification for violence is humanitarian assistance [Nothilfe]. The only justification for the violence of war is victory. Neither requires airy words... War does not merely presuppose readiness to kill but also the physical courage to risk ones life for others, to suffer and even to die. Societies which cannot summon up these virtues should withdraw as quickly as possible, but they should not pretend that this is an act of justice. (p.56)

There is something, no doubt intentionally, disturbing about this call for a less virtual, but more virtuous, war (it is not 'society' which must summon up these virtues, but individual soldiers and civilians).[6] But what is also striking is the contrast between Sofsky's sociologically realistic account of the internal realities of the situation within Serbia and Kosovo and his highly moralized critique of NATO action (or inaction). While Sofksy's account of the internal situation within Kosovo may have underestimated the degree of centralized control over the 'packs' and 'gangs' and overestimated their degree of autonomy and the arbitrariness of their violence, it at least attempts to offer a sociological analysis. With respect to NATO's actions, however, he fails to take account of the wider political and social context within which the war is conducted and the alliance forged, for example the lack of popular support for wars in which there is a large loss of life on either (but especially 'ones own') side - a not insignificant factor in countries with regular elections (see Shaw, 1991) or the impossibility of putting together any coalition of NATO countries for anything more than an air war ('lack of political will' is a highly moralized explanation of this).

Even this very compressed, though hopefully accurate, account of Habermas's long and complex argument and of Sofsky's intervention should give the reader a feel for the style and level of some of the debate in Germany. But, of course, the analysis also raises starkly all the difficulties with the cosmopolitan position.[7] These difficulties can be highlighted by asking another Schmittian-type question: 'who decides?' Who decides what constitutes a violation of human rights under conditions of their underinstutionalization? Who decides what constitutes a proportional response to the violation of human rights? Who decides when such a response has itself violated the rights of the world-citizens it seeks to defend? Where the real arbitrators are coalitions of nation states some (all?) of which themselves may be thought to be, to varying degrees, in violation of those rights (for example in cases where participants retain the death penalty or deploy depleted uranium shells) who decides? Such questions would be unlikely to perturb Habermas who could ascribe these problems to the unfinished nature of the cosmopolitan project. But this response presupposes a greater faith in enlightened progress than those on the other side of the cosmopolitan/anti-cosmopolitan divide are willing to allow. It is to the views of the anti-cosmopolitans that I now turn.

The critics of cosmopolitanism

The dispute between the cosmopolitans (Habermas in Germany, Bobbio in Italy and Held in Britain) and their critics is rather like a gestalt-switch drawing without the switch, the same lines on the paper stubbornly appearing as a duck to the one side and as a rabbit to the other. Where the cosmopolitans see the possibility of raising the rights of citizen of the state to a higher level ('Aufhebung' - Habermas), their critics assert a qualitative break. Where cosmopolitans see the possibility of a degree of global agreement on basic principle, their critics point to empirical differences and inequalities. Where the cosmopolitans see a 'just', or at least a 'justified',[8] war, their critics see elements of national (or Western) self-interest in play.

All this can be seen clearly in Danilo Zolo's criticisms of cosmopolitanism written in the wake of the Gulf war. Zolo is concerned about 'autocratic cosmopolitanism' by which he means the strengthening of the UN Security Council and the facilitation of military intervention, a process in which 'problems of representatives of the various elements of which the United Nations is composed or the democratic nature of their procedures are either marginalized or ignored' (Zolo 1997: p. 40). The current circumstances, in which even the Security Council has been bypassed, magnify this concern. But Zolo's more fundamental criticism of cosmopolitanism is that it abstracts issues of war and peace from the 'biological, psychological and sociological conditions of violence' (p. 44). This appeal to biological and physiological conditions is not a form of biological determinism, but is very close to Elias's 'middle' position in which violence is understood as an ever present potential within Homo Sapiens, but one whose appearance and form is shaped by social circumstances (Elias 1988). Nevertheless, the conclusion drawn is that the suppression of violence, the stopping of war, is not a realistic end and that peace efforts would be better spent on the quasi-therapeutic facilitation of 'rituals of peace' between warring, or potentially warring, parties ('weak pacifism'). In other words, a 'realistic' recognition is required that both our 'species being' and our 'social being' (though he does not use these old terms) are such that we are not creatures for whom 'perpetual peace' is a realizable end and for this reason, even as a regulative principle, perpetual peace is a counterproductive - even dangerous - ideal, or 'idol' as Zolo has it (p.181). Sociologists may be wary of these quasi-biological arguments (though Zolo - and Elias - are surely right to insist that they require serious consideration). They will however be more attracted to his insistence that sociological conditions of violence must be taken into account. Here Zolo hones in on the divisive implication of economic, political and cultural globalization, or what he calls 'homogenization without integration', namely 'the antagonism between the esteemed citizenship of the West and the countless masses belonging to regional and subcontinent areas without development and with a high rate of demographic growth' (p.137). Rather than globalization assisting the process of the incorporation of the rights of the citizen of the state into those of the citizen of the world, it has resulted in polarization between literate, enfranchised and materially secure populations (by no means always in the West) and those (by no means always in the old 'third world') who are excluded and thus disenfranchised (cf. Bauman 1998).

The reason for mentioning Zolo's critique here is that it expresses doubts about cosmopolitanism which have resurfaced, albeit in a less systematic form, in the debates in Germany . These doubts are clear from the article by Beck to which I have already referred. Where Habermas characterized the intervention as 'legal pacifism', Beck characterizes it as 'militaristic pacifism'. His fear is that 'human rights' could be reduced to the slogan or banner behind which a 'new crusade' marches. In this observation there are echoes of Norbert Elias's ( Elias 1994 [1939]) argument that 'civilization' replaces 'religion' as the motive for the West's crusade against the East, i.e. Beck suspects a new substitution in which rights replace civilization. Beck, in a typically neat turn of phrase, characterizes this war as the 'continuation of morality by other means' (p.15). He also postulates that this is different from a Clausewitzian war in another sense, namely it arises in the course of globalization from the dissolution of nation states rather than from their ambition to expand. While I have some doubts about this interpretation -- an alternative reading could precisely focus on it as a case of (Serbian and possibly even Albanian) state building (cf. Mann 1997 and Shaw 1997) - it nevertheless raises some awkward questions about the cosmopolitan project: 'in a world system of weak states, which has been propagated and created in the course of neo-liberal world-politics, nothing stands in the way of an imperialistic misuse of the cosmopolitan mission. Today nobody wants that.' (Beck 1999: p.15).[9]

An interesting contrast to both Habermas' philosophical reading of events and Beck's sociological diagnosis is a piece by Eric Hobsbawm (Hobsbawm 1999) which appeared in the edition of Die Zeit which followed Habermas's intervention (Habermas 1999 no 19, 6th May ). Without mentioning either of them, Hobsbawm incidentally offers a critique of both. Where Beck - in line with his general sociology - would like to place these events in the context of contemporary social transformation, Hobsbawm places them firmly back in their historical context: 'as the Balkans war demonstrates, we are still paying today for the sins of those politicians who, after the First World War, attempted to draw the political map of Europe along lines congruent with the linguistic and ethnic map [Völkerkarte]' (p.37). That this 'sin' of the politicians is now visited upon us, Hobsbawm argues (and here there is a degree of agreement with Beck), is due to the break-up of the post-war social settlement brought about in part by the 'Konjunkturwende', i.e. the neo-liberal turn. But Hobsbawm's analysis is more interesting in the doubts he (like Beck) casts on the cosmopolitan justification for the bombing:

Problems of nationalism will not be resolved by the Serbian mass terror in Kosovo nor by NATO's air war, and certainly not by a politics which appears to allow of no diplomatic solution and at best, as in Bosnia, makes a cease-fire dependent upon an unlimited occupation by foreign military forces of an 'ethnically cleansed' area. (p.38)

Hobsbawm, like Zolo, ascribes the basic source of the current conflict to the polarization brought about by economic globalization and deregulation within nation states. Like his fellow economic historian Karl Polanyi (1957 [1944]) before him,[10] Hobsbawm reads the upsurge of nationalistic sentiments as a reaction among the 'losers' against the socially destructive side-effects of the push towards unbounded markets: 'The cry "The foreigners are to blame. They live at our cost and take our jobs and homes" - this cry is more persuasive in times of crisis than it was in the decades of the European economic and welfare wonder' (p.38). Combine this with the rise of a new identity politics and the stricter policing of the borders of (still relatively) economically successful areas such as the EU and you have the conditions, Hobsbawm argues, for an aggressive drawing of the line between 'we' and 'the other': 'I see the danger that we shall divide humanity into two parts, 'us' who enjoy rights and the 'others'; the indispensable but politically invisible underclass' (again, cf. Bauman 1998).

Some concluding observations

These problems of polarization not only go unaddressed by Habermas's cosmopolitanism, but that position may under crisis conditions make it even more difficult to resolve the conflicts which emerge as an outcome of the process Hobsbawm describes by closing off lines of communications with the 'other' (cf. Hondrich 1999). One effect of cosmopolitanism is that it replaces the language of diplomacy (with all its toleration of ambiguity and its recognition of the need to negotiate with those with dirty hands) with the language of law. But how, in the absence of a monopolization of legitimate violence at a global level, can that law (i) be seen as impartial and (ii) assist the practical process of conflict resolution? Where the 'opponent' is mere criminal or terrorist, with whom can there be negotiation? Whereas diplomacy has always recognized that it is precisely with the criminal or terrorist that one eventually has to negotiate, the law does not 'negotiate' with the criminal, it merely tries him or her. But in the absence of negotiation what possible resolution is there short of the total defeat of the opponent? In other words, cosmopolitanism can place NATO in a position in which anything short of a total victory is humiliating. Paradoxically then, cosmopolitanism itself may produce a Schmittian logic of another sort, namely where the aim of political action becomes the destruction of the foe. One worry here, not discussed by Beck or Hobsbawm but implicit in Zolo's critique, is that cosmopolitanism (in contrast to traditional - or better still, innovative - forms of diplomacy) can quickly become an ethic of conviction in which the end (bringing the criminal to book), however noble, precludes adequate consideration of the appropriateness and proportionality of the means as well of the potential unforeseen and unintended consequences of adopting those means. Thus, one does not have to share a principled opposition to this, or similar, military interventions or even scepticism about their humanitarian objectives to recognise that there remain problems with cosmopolitanism as a source of justification for such interventions.

I started off this account of selected aspects of the Kosovo debate among 'public intellectuals' in Germany by contrasting it to the situation in the UK. The British equivalents of Die Zeit or the Süddeutsche Zeitung are not going to give over such space to an essentially academic debate which seeks public relevance. Where such debates do take place in Britain they tend to do so through book publication with all the time-lag and limitation of audience that that entails, or in journals of a specific (albeit broad and shifting) politico-theoretical perspective (e.g. New Left Review). But even under more 'favourable' conditions there is space for only a very few 'public intellectuals'. In the absence of the possibility - for all but the very few - to reach a wider public through newspapers, what may be needed are forums in which such debates can be conducted here among more than just those few. As sociology itself fragments (with any number of 'turns' on offer - cultural, social-theoretical, empirical/methodological) we may also need such forums not only to seek a wider audience, but also to continue speaking to each other in a mutually intelligible language.


1But see the debate between Robert Skidelsky (1999) and Micheal Ignatieff in Prospect, June 1999.

As Habermas (1989: 77-78) has noted, by associating him or herself closely with a particular party, the intellectual once again gives up the freedoms associated with that role. There is, in other words, a tension between the public intellectual's desire for freedom and for influence. Influence, where it requires adherence to a party, re-imposes discipline, including the discipline to remain silent which is the very antithesis of the 'duty' of the public intellectual.

3Unlike their British counterparts, German politicians do not appear to have 'minders' and are occasionally exposed to uncontrolled publics. Whereas Scharping has stuck doggedly to his script and appeared very uncomfortable (no doubt wishing he had minders), Fischer, who has three decades of experience of this kind of thing behind him, raises to the occasion and is scathing, funny and impassioned by turn.

4This caution has not protected Habermas from some pretty crude attacks, notably by the author Peter Handke in an interview in the Austrian weekly News, 11th May, 1999.

5The German term 'Völkerrecht' (international law) implies that international law is law applied to the citizens of states. This implication - absent in the English - enables Habermas to draw a categorical distinction between international law and law grounded in human (i.e. not state-citizenship) rights. Only the latter can sanction intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.

6Compare Cohn-Bendit: 'This war demonstrates that Europe is not only the EURO, butter and beef. Europe is an ideal of living together and of human rights. Never again can there be ethnic expulsions, never again barbarity... Kosovo shows that Europe is ready to defend this demand even under difficult conditions.' This sentiment is understandable and disquieting in equal measure. The argument that the deployment of ground troops should have been a moral consequence of this intervention is also made by the sociologist Karl Otto Hondrich (Die Zeit, no. 22, 27th May 1999: p.4)), but on different grounds to those offered by Sofsky. For Hondrich a 'war from above' neither engages the 'enemy' as a human agent nor protects Kosovans as though they where 'one or ours' (das Eigene). Hondrich argues that it these relative values of mutual recognition among enemies and protection of ones own rather than the abstract asocial conception of the 'world-citizen' which offer the only justification for violence and war.

7Habermas's universalism was also bound to provoke a culturalist response and so it did: 'It is not to be forgotten that in all this that local self-regulation of ethnic and religions conflict, as a rule, takes its course without violence, even in the Balkans' (Hondrich 1999: p.4). And later, 'we must accept that violence does resolve problems. We must accept that violence and war are not the fault of any one side or of one man, but are co-produced by both sides'. Hondrick's position appears to be a kind of conservative cultural relativism and his views are in some respects similar to those expressed by Skidelsky (see, endnote 1). Without acting as apologist for the Serbs or ruling out categorically NATO's intervention, Hondrick concludes 'there are cases in which one must intervene, in which we must rush to help the weak and oppressed, but it is better to do so on the basis of simple morality and interest than on the basis of a world-citizen-morality'. While I have sympathy with this conclusion, this kind of juxtaposition of universalism and culturalism soon draws a blank. More interesting are those criticisms of the intervention that focus primarily on the question of the appropriateness and proportionality of response (though, in fairness to Hondrick, he does consider this too).

8The distinction between a 'just' and a 'justified' war is Habermas's, 1990.

9Despite these doubts, Beck does not come out unambigiously 'against' NATO's intervention any more that Habermas comes out unambigiously 'for' it.

10For an attempt to apply Polanyi's analysis to contemporary globalizing forces, see Scott 1997b.


For their comments on an earlier draft, I would like to thank Stephanie Lawson, Kate Nash, John Street and two anonymous referees. For this and also for filling me in on some of the background, particular thanks to Sigrid Baringhorst and Holger Hopp.


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Copyright Sociological Research Online, 1999