The 'Double Law' of Hospitality: Rethinking cosmopolitan ethics in humanitarian intervention

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Title The 'Double Law' of Hospitality: Rethinking cosmopolitan ethics in humanitarian intervention
Author Baker, Gideon Bruce
Journal Name International Relations
Year Published 2010
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Sage
Abstract By way of a discussion of the deliberately hard case of humanitarian intervention, this article considers the merits of an alternative cosmopolitan ethics to that of liberal cosmopolitanism, one which founds its universalism on an ethics of hospitality rather than the rights of man. Jacques Derrida describes the ethics of hospitality as defined by an unconditional welcome which nonetheless must become conditional in order to function. This leads to a profound paradox — an 'undecidability' — in the practice of the ethics of hospitality, the implications of which need to be better understood if the ambition of 'another cosmopolitanism' is to be realised. Interrogating the ethics of hospitality and the undecidability to which it gives rise in relation to humanitarian intervention, it is argued that responsibilities to others, which sometimes imply intervention, must always be kept in tension with openness to the coming of the Other, which limits intervention. Far from being blind or paralysing action, such 'bounded undecidability', it is suggested, actually defines the site of responsible, just decisions in humanitarian intervention.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Alternative URI http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0047117809348689
Copyright Statement Copyright 2010 SAGE Publications. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Volume 24
Issue Number 1
Page from 87
Page to 103
ISSN 0047-1178
Date Accessioned 2010-05-06
Date Available 2011-03-08T06:49:55Z
Language en_AU
Research Centre Centre for Governance and Public Policy
Faculty Griffith Business School
Subject International Relations
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/32229
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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