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Decolonizing Global Ethics: Thinking with the Pluriverse

  • Kimberly Hutchings

Abstract

This essay examines the idea of the pluriverse as one response to recent calls for the decolonization of international and global ethics. It argues that taking pluriversality seriously challenges prevailing understandings of global ethics as the acquisition and application of moral expertise. Instead of aiming to know the meaning of global justice and then apply it to particular contexts, a pluriversal ethics addresses the question of how to cultivate a practical ethic of coexistence and collaboration with others in an ontologically plural and radically hierarchical world.

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NOTES

1 See, for example, Bell, Duncan, ed., Empire, Race and Global Justice (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2019); Lu, Catherine, Justice and Reconciliation in World Politics (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2017); Flikschuh, Katrin, What Is Orientation in Global Thinking? A Kantian Inquiry (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2017); Odysseos, Louiza, “Prolegomena to Any Future Decolonial Ethics: Coloniality, Poetics and ‘Being Human as Praxis,’Millennium: Journal of International Studies 45, no. 3 (April 2017), pp. 447–72.

2 Blaney, David L. and Tickner, Arlene B., “Worlding, Ontological Politics and the Possibility of a Decolonial IR,” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 45, no. 3 (June 2017), pp. 293311; Rojas, Cristina, “Contesting the Colonial Logics of the International: Towards a Relational Politics for the Pluriverse,” International Political Sociology 10, no. 4 (2016), pp. 369–82.

3 Dunford, Robin, “Toward a Decolonial Global Ethics,” Journal of Global Ethics 13, no. 3 (September 2017), pp. 380–97.

4 William James, A Pluralistic Universe: Hibbert Lectures at the Manchester College on the Present Situation in Philosophy, Project Gutenburg, under “Lecture 8,” www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/11984/pg11984.html. Emphasis in the original.

5 Blaser, Mario, “Political Ontology: Cultural Studies without ‘Cultures’?,” Cultural Studies 23, nos. 5–6 (2009), pp. 873–96; Conway, Janet and Singh, Jakeet, “Radical Democracy in Global Perspective: Notes from the Pluriverse,” Third World Quarterly 32 no. 4 (2011), pp. 689706; de la Cadena, Marisol, “Indigenous Cosmopolitics in the Andes: Conceptual Reflections beyond ‘Politics,’Cultural Anthropology 25, no. 2 (April 2010), pp. 334–70; Chaves, Martha, Macintyre, Thomas, Verschoor, Gerard, and Wals, Arjen E. J., “Towards Transgressive Learning through Ontological Politics: Answering the ‘Call of the Mountain’ in a Colombian Network of Sustainability,” Sustainability 9, no. 1 (December 2016), 119; Escobar, Arturo, “Thinking-Feeling with the Earth: Territorial Struggles and the Ontological Dimension of the Epistemologies of the South,” Revista de antropologia Iberoamericana 11, no. 1 (January–April 2016), pp. 1132; Esteva, Gustavo and Escobar, Arturo, “Post-Development @ 25: On ‘Being Stuck’ and Moving Forward, Sideways, Backward and Otherwise,” in “The Development Dictionary @25: Post-Development and Its Consequences,” ed. Ziai, Aram, special issue, Third World Quarterly 38, no. 12 (June 2017), pp. 2559–72; Mignolo, Walter D., The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options (London: Duke University Press, 2011).

6 Blaser, “Political Ontology,” p. 890.

7 Blaney and Tickner, “Worlding, Ontological Politics and the Possibility of a Decolonial IR,” p. 304; Blaser, “Political Ontology,” p. 888.

8 Escobar, “Thinking-Feeling with the Earth,” p. 22.

9 Ibid., p. 20.

10 Mignolo, Darker Side of Western Modernity.

11 Dunford, “Toward a Decolonial Global Ethics,” p. 11.

12 Ibid., pp. 12–13.

13 Ibid., pp. 14–15.

14 Chaves et al., “Towards Transgressive Learning through Ontological Politics,” p. 5.

15 Cadena, “Indigenous Cosmopolitics in the Andes,” p. 30.

16 Lear, Jonathan, Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006).

17 Ibid., p. 144.

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Ethics & International Affairs
  • ISSN: 0892-6794
  • EISSN: 1747-7093
  • URL: /core/journals/ethics-and-international-affairs
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