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Once considered a question of an international order based on consolidated

statehood and homogeneous social communities within national borders, global

order has become a question of alternative political articulations, resistance

movements, and cultural diversity, among others. This book first critically

analyzes the conditions for the struggles of theorizing global normative order in

political and IR theory. Second, to make sense of the presence of difference and

possibility for global normative order in view of the simultaneous absence of first

foundations, the study draws on post-foundational thinking based on the seminal

work of German philosopher Martin Heidegger and Argentine political theorist

Ernesto Laclau. Finally, the author develops a theoretical framework for a

hauntological approach to global normative order that provides an alternative

and theoretically coherent explanation for the emergence of global order. This is

of interest to scholars as well as practitioners (including activists) concerned with

global social relations, global political discourse, and the construction of global

identity and normative order(s).



Chapter 1. Introduction

The book contributes to close a research gap in the triangular relationship between (1) the political and social theories of order with (2) the discipline of IR and (3) postfoundational thought regarding the question of global normative orders, that is, for the puzzle concerning theories of global order, on the one side, and for the puzzle of the nexus between difference and foundation of global order(s), on the other side. The academic literature has been restricted to the critique and analysis of each field separately. Or, at the most, it has set focus on the reconceptualization of categories and ontological assumptions within the scope of two of the three research areas. IR theory has been criticized for the lack of engagement with its basic social concepts and theoretical and ontological foundations. Political theory has been confronted by an appeal to actualize its primary assumptions through the engagement with alternative perspectives such as postfoundationalism. But what constitutes a persisting gap in research on global politics and global social relations is an analysis of the implications of a postfoundational political ontology for conceptualizing global normative orders and identity.
Fränze Wilhelm

Chapter 2. Order: From Social Cohesion to Global Disorder

The chapter outlines genealogically the shortcomings of traditional theories and concepts of order and disorder in sociology, political science, and IR theory by analyzing how the question of ontology with regard to thinking global order remains largely unexplored in traditional theories of social order and IR. It asserts that mainstream IR theory precludes the exploration of global normative order(s).
Fränze Wilhelm

Chapter 3. Difference: Metaphysics of the Social

The chapter turns to an account of how an ontology of order could be informed by a postfoundational political ontology based on a concept of difference. The first section introduces the Heideggerian approach of ontological difference and the originary nothing for an ontological perspective on the horizon of possible being. The second and third sections trace the postfoundational advancement of the ontological approach by Ernesto Laclau’s notion of political difference and spell out the consequences and practical impact of an ontological inquiry for understanding the institution of factual order(s).
Fränze Wilhelm

Chapter 4. Hauntology of Global Normative Order(s)

The chapter carves out the meaning and implications of a postfoundational hauntology of global normative order(s). The study concludes that a postfoundational perspective renders universal claims to ontological identity null and void. In this light, global normative order seems as possible and impossible as any order because it is discursively articulated by human beings alone and has no ontological ground that could prescribe its ontic content. Postfoundational difference, however, turns out to generate more than mere particularistic pluralism or arbitrariness of orders because it imposes on human beings the need to repeatedly decide their social identities and (global) normative orders.
Fränze Wilhelm

Chapter 5. Conclusion: The (Im)Possibility of Global Normative Order(s)

In conclusion, the postfoundational ontological condition explains but also increases our experiences of paradox in global normative order(s). The hauntology of global normative order does not present an ontology of global order that explains the fixed boundaries of global social relations, nor a reason why one normative order rather than the other would be preferable to govern a ‘global space.’ Instead, a hauntology of order acknowledges the foundational need for a decision about such an ontological investment to begin with and examines the contingency of our established global social identities. Politicization as problematization and decision as free articulation are not only fundamental practices of politics but also essential components of social sciences and IR conceived in postfoundational terms. The logic of investigation changes from deduction to retroduction, that is, to inferring the conclusion for a phenomenon only ever problematically. The sort of inquiry proposed in this book can inform new understandings of the contemporary decidables, and it can inspire new areas of research for social and political theory as well as empirical studies. These would then be concerned with the contingent articulations and actualizations of possible contents that assume the role of symbolizing that which is named ‘global normative order.’
Fränze Wilhelm


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