Sovereignty & alterity : a critical approach to ethics and human rights in international politics
Yavuz, Zeynep Burcu
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This thesis aims to problematize the inside-outside separation with regards to its impact on the question of ethics in international politics. In addition to the domestic and international antinomy, the self-other duality, which is at the basis of traditional (Kantian) ethics, is also problematized, as it excludes and suppresses the other. Therefore, an understanding of justice established upon universal principles and abstract norms is done away with in favor of political ethics that is flexible and open to change. The narratives structured around presence of an essence and a sovereign source of truth (be it the human or the culture) is also found problematical, as what they represent is not independent from how they represent. The universal human rights norms are discussed in such a framework. The justificatory reference to a universal human nature or particular culture is criticized, as such foundations are established at the time of their proclamation and further utilized to tame the difference within. Accordingly, just like the ontic account of state and security discourses built upon it are exclusionary and suppressive, a discourse of human rights, which is universal and strict, is found disciplinary and suppressive towards the difference. As a conclusion it is argued that the treatment of ethics and human rights in international politics should be assessed in the light of the backbone assumptions of the IR theory, ethics and the discourse of human rights. It is also concluded that we can command an ethical position, only when we leave objectifying the state, the human or the victim.