Cosmopolitanism and Liberal Universalism in International Relations Theory: Moralising Politics or Politicising Ethics?

Millennium: Journal of International Studies

Mapping out the constellation between liberal universalism, cosmopolitanism and International Relations (IR) theory, the following works explicitly politicise the ethics of contemporary cosmopolitanism, thereby responding to the criticism that cosmopolitan theory offers little more than a moralisation of politics.

In a series of sustained engagements with IR’s major theoretical perspectives, the following books explore the ways in which conventional and alternative perspectives explain the origins, prospects and limits of a modern cosmopolitan view of world politics. Through an examination of recent work by Richard Beardsworth, Gideon Baker and John M. Hobson, this review essay highlights an emerging dialogue between cosmopolitanism and IR.

In different ways, and with different implications for IR, the following works develop a theoretically rigorous account of and response to three distinct yet interrelated criticisms against modern cos-mopolitanism: the critique of liberal universalism; the charge of impractical idealism; and lastly, the alleged Eurocentric and imperialist legacy of modern cosmopolitanism.

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