The Dialectics of Global Justice
185 pages

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The Dialectics of Global Justice uses a novel application of negative dialectical interpretation to offer an immanent and ethical critique of prominent theories of global justice (i.e., cosmopolitanism), including how these theories manifest in political movements and policy agendas. Drawing on the work of Theodor Adorno and Erich Fromm especially, author Bryant William Sculos exposes the contradictory relationship between cosmopolitanism and core elements of capitalism, particularly the domineering "capitalistic mentality" (re)produced by and through capitalism, leading to the conclusion that cosmopolitanism, on its own terms, demands an alternative, postcapitalistic political basis in order to make robust progress toward global justice. While offering this critique, Sculos also implicitly challenges the increasingly common view that cosmopolitanism today is inherently imperialistic and out of touch with the global resurgence of nationalism and anti-cosmopolitan sentiment.

Introduction: From Here to There

1. Assuming the Status Quo: Cosmopolitanism Takes on Capitalism

2. The Capitalistic Mentality: Between Base and Superstructure

3. Cosmopolitanism and the Dialectical Intervention of the Capitalistic Mentality

4. Cosmopolitanism and Socialist Strategy: Class Struggle, Radical Reform, and Postcapitalism

Conclusion: Toward a Postcapitalistic Mentality




Publié par
Date de parution 01 juillet 2022
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781438489421
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1648€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


The Dialectics of Global Justice
SUNY series in New Political Science

Bradley J. Macdonald, editor
The Dialectics of Global Justice
From Liberal to Postcapitalist Cosmopolitanism
Published by State University of New York Press, Albany
© 2022 State University of New York
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. No part of this book may be stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means including electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission in writing of the publisher.
For information, contact State University of New York Press, Albany, NY
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Name: Sculos, Bryant William, author.
Title: The dialectics of global justice : from liberal to postcapitalist cosmopolitanism / Bryant William Sculos.
Description: Albany : State University of New York Press, [2022] | Series: SUNY series in New Political Science | Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2022005699 | ISBN 9781438489414 (hardcover : alk. paper) | ISBN 9781438489421 (ebook)
Subjects: LCSH: Cosmopolitanism.
Classification: LCC JZ1308 .S382 2022 | DDC 306—dc23/eng/20220413
LC record available at
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This book is dedicated to all those struggling for a democratic, egalitarian postcapitalist world—that is, for true global justice.
And also, to my mom for in so many ways inspiring the writing of this book. I want to thank her for already knowing that this is the best book ever written. She has never lacked faith that I could do this and do it well (if she did ever lack faith, she thankfully never told me!). But she inspired me in less intentional ways too, fighting to survive in all those incomplete and contradictory ways that were often, for me, the splinters in my eyes that became a magnifying glass.
I NTRODUCTION From Here to There
C HAPTER 1 Assuming the Status Quo: Cosmopolitanism Takes on Capitalism
C HAPTER 2 The Capitalistic Mentality: Between Base and Superstructure
C HAPTER 3 Cosmopolitanism and the Dialectical Intervention of the Capitalistic Mentality
C HAPTER 4 Cosmopolitanism and Socialist Strategy: Class Struggle, Radical Reform, and Postcapitalism
C ONCLUSION Toward a Postcapitalistic Mentality
This book began as an overly aggressive and stylistically rough doctoral dissertation that went through many revisions to even get to that state. Upon returning to it to construct this book, I was reminded of just how much help I needed to get to where I am, wherever that is. It was not just intellectual help to make the argument stronger and engage the right sources, but it was about supporting the intellectual (and political) contribution the dissertation, and now this book, might offer. I am beyond indebted to my dissertation committee, including Harry Gould, Paul Warren, Richard Beardsworth, Sean Noah Walsh, Ron Cox, and, my committee chair Clem Fatovic. These latter two especially deserve enormous credit for pushing me to make this the project I wanted it to be—only, you know, better. They were and are tough but caring critics, and as an aspiring tough but caring critic myself, I couldn’t have asked for better role models. It was never “sink or swim.” It was always “let us help you figure out how to swim better, so you not only don’t drown but actually enjoy the swim.” And I wasn’t always a very good swimmer. They offered harsh but justified critique coupled with deeply felt support and care. Insofar as this book, and my writing and teaching more broadly, reflects any kind of balance between harsh but justified critique and deeply felt support and care, it is in no small part due to the mentorship of Clem and Ron.
I also benefited greatly from the opportunity to discuss some of the ideas in this book as a Summer 2019 Fellow at The Institute for Critical Social Inquiry at The New School for Social Research. Spending a week with Etienne Balibar in a small seminar addressing the contemporary relevance of the commons and communism was a thrill, and the pre- and postseminar conversations over beers were a necessary counterweight that allowed me to process some small shreds of Balibar’s insights. For those conversations, I’m especially thankful to Rafael Khatchaturian. Engaging with his sharp political and theoretical mind allowed me to better cohere the ideas in this book.
Being an activist and organizer has played an important role in developing the ideas contained here. It was in large part due to the ideas I was engaging with in the process of writing this, combined with my early sense of the deep injustice in the world, that motivated me to get more involved politically, beyond the books and classroom. I have learned almost as much from my comrades in struggle as I have from my books. More importantly, my organizing experience in Worcester, Massachusetts, especially with the core group that would come to form the Independent Socialist Group (ISG), has greatly influenced how I relate to the theories I work with. Speaking as a political theorist, this is no small thing. But in the end, the achievement of global justice—which, as this book argues, will necessarily be a democratic, egalitarian, ecological world beyond capitalism—will have more to do with the success of comrades in struggle than with anything I wrote here.
I cannot proceed in good conscience without acknowledging the absolute hellscape that is the academic “job market.” To say that the political economy of higher education makes doing thoughtful, thorough scholarship more difficult for most of us—that is, the unlucky majority who don’t have the (admittedly eroding) protection of tenure or lower teaching loads or those not needing second jobs to make ends meet. I have been largely fortunate, relatively speaking, but that isn’t saying much; I almost gave up too many times to count (okay it was probably about six times since 2017). For the past three and a half years I have benefited from full-time positions at The University of Massachusetts Amherst (with the crucial support of Nicholas Xenos and the Amherst Program in Critical Theory) and the Department of History & Political Science and Department of Sociology at Worcester State University. Profs. Hangen, Haller, and Corbin at WSU were crucial in helping me maintain my full-time course load to maintain my full-time pay and benefits beyond the period I was initially hired for. This book, and my career, in all likelihood, would not exist as such without their creative labor-forward efforts.
In a similar way, I’m thankful for the enormous relief of a permanent academic position, which I now have in the Department of Political Science at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Nicholas Kiersey and Clyde W. Barrow in particular made possible this opportunity to complete the final revisions to this book without the stress of wondering how my bills would be paid next semester.
It is customary to say that, despite the many people who have read and influenced this book, all errors and mistakes that remain are the author’s responsibility alone. Well, I’m not going to say that. My dear reader, assume what you want. While we have both too much and not enough individual responsibility in our world, I’m not sure there is any value at all in reproducing the idea that the author’s name of the front of the book deserves quite as much credit for the final product as it is given. I teach my students that the best writing is always reflective of a collection of productive, cooperative relationships and engagements. I’m not going to contradict that lesson here. Instead, what I will say is that this book is significantly improved in both style and content because of the many people who have supported me and offered insightful suggestions—and not too few criticisms—over the years.
The book has also been improved by the numerous bad faith and unhelpful comments I received from many tenured political scientists at academic conferences while I was a graduate student working on the dissertation that became this book. So, a sideways “Thanks!” to all who offered those very encouraging comments to a young, inexperienced graduate student, all of which forced me to be better prepared to face superficial or bad faith criticisms (and to make sure that that categorization wasn’t a reflection of the intellectually and socially unhealthy defensiveness endemic to being a writer, never mind being a cis-straight, white male in academia). Learning which comments, criticism, and advice were worth considering, and in what ways they were worth considering, was the toughest lesson learned in the process of writing this book, and it is one that I’m surely not finished learning. Humility in writing isn’t about taking every criticism to heart; it is about navigating, and adjusting to, difficult-to-hear criticisms from well-meaning interlocutors and finding some kind of lesson from the criticisms from people who weren’t really interested in taking the argument seriously to begin with.
I also want to acknowledge the inspiration that my undergraduate students have provided over the years. They have been a crucial sounding board, and one less concerned with academic standards or norms than with whether a damn argument makes sense! However frustrating teaching can be at times, my students have pushed me to make my arguments clearer and more accessible. I want to acknowledge those students who’ve taken radical action outside the classroom. Perhaps more than a great class discussion or activity that goes well, hearing about students’ efforts to make their campus, community, and inde

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