24 novChristian Reus-Smit (European University Institute), « Struggles for Individual Rights: Global Change, Normative Implications », Lundi 12 Décembre (Lieu : Sciences Po, 13, rue de l’Université)

Christian Reus-Smit (EUI)

Struggles for individual rights played a key role in the globalization of the present system of sovereign states. From its original kernel in sixteenth century Europe, the system expanded through five great waves; the most significant were those associated with the Westphalian settlement, the independence of the Americas, and post-1945 decolonization. In each case , empires suffered crises of legitimacy as new ideas about rights were mobilized to challenge established regimes of entitlements. When empires proved incapable of accommodating the new rights claims, subject peoples embraced the sovereign state as the institutional alternative. This history challenges not only conventional understandings of the relation between individual rights and sovereignty, but also opens up new possibilities for the normative justification of human rights. This seminar sets out the historical and theoretical argument in greater detail, and sketches, in a very preliminary fashion, its implications for normative theory. Overall, it offers an example of how empirical and normative enquiry can be brought into productive dialogue.

Sciences Po, Salle du Conseil, 13, rue de l’Université, 17.00-19.00

Discussant: Richard Beardsworth (AUP)

30 novMilja Kurki (Aberystwyth), « Causal Analysis », Tuesday November 3rd 2009

Milja Kurki (Aberystwyth University)

‘The normative and political dimensions of causal analysis’

Often the idea of causal analysis is separated from the analysis of normative issues and questions of moral and political responsibility, in IR and also in many circles in philosophy of social sciences. This tendency is generated by an unthinking acceptance and reproduction of a positivist fact-value distinction. When causal analysis is framed in non-positivist terms we can see not only that there is nothing a-normative or a-political about the analysis of causation, but also that complex issues arise concerning the exact relationship between the frameworks of causal analysis we use and our normative and political commitments. I will argue here that engaging in causal analysis is a deeply moral, normatively-loaded, and political matter, and moreover, that important issues are at stake in the kind of meta-theoretical frameworks we apply to causal analysis. Far from dismissing causal analysis as de-politicising, as has been the tendency in the interpretivist end of IR, we should recognise that it is around debates about causality, and frameworks of causal analysis, that much of the interesting moral and political debate in international relations takes place.

CERI, 5-7 pm (salle de conférences rez-de-chaussée)