What is the 'World' in World Politics? : Heidegger, Badiou and Void Universalism

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Prozorov , S 2013 , ' What is the 'World' in World Politics? Heidegger, Badiou and Void Universalism ' , Contemporary Political Theory , vol. 12 , no. 2 , pp. 102-122 . https://doi.org/10.1057/cpt.2012.14

Title: What is the 'World' in World Politics? : Heidegger, Badiou and Void Universalism
Author: Prozorov, Sergei
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Political and Economic Studies (2010-2017)
Date: 2013-04-01
Language: eng
Belongs to series: Contemporary Political Theory
ISSN: 1470-8914
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/233453
Abstract: This article addresses the ontological presuppositions of the discourse on world politics in political and international relations theory. We argue that the ambivalent status of world politics is due to the understanding of its central concept, that is, the world, in terms of totality or ‘the whole’. Drawing on Alain Badiou's set-theoretical ontology, this article demonstrates that such a concept is logically inconsistent, which leads the discourse on world politics to a perpetual oscillation between the presupposition of a universal totality and the unmasking of its impossibility. We then proceed to the particularistic concept of the world as a limited totality with no pretense to universality, as developed in Heidegger's phenomenological ontology and Badiou's objective phenomenology. Although this approach affirming the existence of the infinity of infinite worlds appears of little use to the universalist problematic of world politics, it provides us with a pathway to the third concept of the world as the void, in which a plurality of positive worlds coexist and which is their ontological condition of possibility. We argue that only this concept of the world enables a logically consistent notion of universality as non-totalizable and immediate. The final section addresses the implications of this concept for rethinking world politics as a practice of transformation of particular worlds in accordance with the universal principles derived from the disclosure of the world as void.
Subject: 517 Political science
universalism, world politics, Heidegger, Badiou, ontology
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