Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:January‒December 2013, February 2015‒September 2016
Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:»Crisis Consciousness, Political Community, and Transnational Justice«
During my stay at the Forschungskolleg, I will be investigating how our consciousness of crisis in a globalizing world plays out in relation to the changing nature of political community, and I will be exploring the connections between crisis consciousness, justice, and injustice within and across boundaries. Since at least the time of Hobbes, ideas about political and social crisis have greatly informed the development of the modern worldview. But pervasive as the concept of crisis is in discussions about politics, it remains woefully undertheorized in normative political theory. Most of our key concepts—justice, democracy, citizenship, freedom, equality—assume the background of an already stable society, with predictable rules of economic, social, and institutional performance; the society of ideal theory is typically a »crisis-free« society. Such a way of thinking lends credence to the long-standing assumption that, in times of crisis, normative ideals like justice and democracy must give way to »more essential« issues like necessity or stability. This is a false assumption, and as world society finds itself engulfed in ever-more frequent crises of various kinds, it is a potentially dangerous one. We need to rethink the role of the concept of crisis in modern political thought, beginning with such fundamental questions as: How do our conceptions of crisis inform our conceptions of society? How does the increasingly transnational scope of crises alter the way we think about the scope of political community? What political dynamics are at work in facing crisis, and do they admit of content relevant to questions of justice? Is there a difference between an »effective« response to a crisis and a »just« response? How does the grammar of crisis translate into the possibility of political action and social change? (Brian Milstein)
Research partner:Brian Milstein follows an invitation of Rainer Forst (Professor of Political Theory at Goethe University and speaker of the Cluster of Excellence »The Formation of Normative Orders« at Goethe University). His stay at the Institute is supported by the Alfons und Gertrud Kassel-Foundation (2013) as well as by the Leibniz research group »Transnational Justice« at Goethe University Frankfurt and the University's Cluster of Excellence »The Formation of Normative Orders« (2015/16).
Scholarly profile of Brian Milstein In 2011, Brian Milstein received his PhD from the New School for Social Research in New York with a dissertation entitled »Commercium: Toward a Critical Theory of the Cosmopolitan«, for which he was awarded the Hannah Arendt Award in Politics. He was a member of Nancy Fraser's research group »Rethinking Crisis« at the Freie Universität Berlin’s Graduate School for North American Studies, and in 2014 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme in Paris.
Please find more information about Brian Milstein here.
Main areas of research:Critical social theory, democratic theory, modern political thought, world politics, nationalism and the state, the work of Immanuel Kant and Jürgen Habermas
- »Emergency Powers and Democratic Equality« (in preparation)
- »Perpetual Peace and Cosmopolitical Method: The Systematic Grounds of Kant's Cosmopolitan Vision« (under review)
- »A Tale of Two Demoi: Boundaries, Democracy, and the Sovereign Point of View«, in: Philosophy and Social Criticism, (2016), doi: 10.1177/0191453716658691
- Commercium: Toward a Critical Theory from a Cosmopolitan Point of View, London: Rowman & Littlefield International 2015.
- »Thinking Politically about Crisis: A Pragmatist Perspective«, in: European Journal of Political Theory (2014), doi: 10.1177/1474885114546138
- »Kantian Cosmopolitanism beyond ›Perpetual Peace‹: Commercium, Critique, and the Cosmopolitan Problematic«, in: The European Journal of Philosophy, DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0378.2010.00437.