Cosmopolitanism is frequently criticised for overlooking the situatedness of morality and the importance of solidarity in their aspiration to global justice. A number of thinkers take these criticisms seriously and pursue ‘a communitarian path to cosmopolitanism’. Four such approaches are considered. All four view morality and justice as grounded in a specific social setting and hold that justice is more likely to result if there is some ‘we-feeling’ among people, but are simultaneously committed to expanding the realm of justice and moral concern to beyond national boundaries. To enable the theorisation of an expanded realm of situated justice and moral concern, community is conceived as not necessarily corresponding to political boundaries and the moral the self is seen as able and eager to loosen some of its traditional moral connections and to form new ones. Unfortunately, these approaches are likely to exclude significant segments of the world's population from the expanded realm of moral concern they theorise, most notably, a large proportion of the world's poor. It is suggested that the thought of Emmanuel Levinas might offer a way of reducing the gap between solidarity and moral universalism.
(Online publication November 29 2010)
Eduard Jordaan is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Singapore Management University. His research interests are in South African foreign policy, issues of global distributive justice, and contemporary political theory. He has published one book, Responsibility, Indifference and Global Poverty: A Levinasian Perspective (Leuven: Peeters, 2006), and a number of articles in journals such as African Affairs, Alternatives, Global Society, International Studies Review and Philosophy and Social Criticism.
* I would like to thank the two anonymous referees for their extremely helpful criticism and suggestions, as well as Paola Raunio for her patient editorial assistance. This study was made possible by financial support from the Office of Research, Singapore Management University, grant 07-C242-SMU-010.