Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Hegel and global politics: communitarianism or cosmopolitanism?

Burns, Tony


Professor of Political Theory


This article discusses Hegel’s views on global politics by relating them to the ‘communitarianism versus cosmopolitanism’ debate. I distinguish between three different theoretical positions and three different readings of Hegel, which I associate with the notions of ‘communitarianism,’ ‘strong cosmopolitanism’ and ‘weak cosmopolitanism’ respectively. Contrary to a commonly held view that Hegel is not a cosmopolitan thinker at all, in any sense of the term, I argue that he is best thought of as a weak cosmopolitan thinker rather than a communitarian or a strong cosmopolitan advocate of the idea of a world-state. In passing, the article refers to the relationship which exists between Hegel’s ideas and those of three Twentieth Century theorists who might be associated with these theoretical positions and these different readings of Hegel, namely, Carl Schmitt, Alexandre Kojève and Jurgen Habermas. The article also refers to the methodological problems which are confronted by readers of Hegel’s writings who wish to apply his ideas to the problems of global politics today. Here I refer to a distinction which I have made elsewhere between different kinds of reading, namely the interpretation, appropriation and the reconstruction of texts, which is especially relevant for readers of the works of Hegel.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 4, 2014
Journal Journal of International Political Theory
Print ISSN 1755-0882
Electronic ISSN 1755-1722
Publisher SAGE Publications (UK and US)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 3
APA6 Citation Burns, T. (2014). Hegel and global politics: communitarianism or cosmopolitanism?. Journal of International Political Theory, 10(3), doi:10.1177/1755088214539409
Keywords Hegel, International Relations, Cosmopolitanism, Carl Schmitt, Alexandre Kojève, Jurgen Habermas
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf


Post%20Referee,%20Pre%20Print%20Version,%20for%20Open%20Access[1].pdf (302 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

You might also like

Downloadable Citations