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Liberal World Orders$
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Tim Dunne and Trine Flockhart

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265529

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265529.001.0001

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Grand Days, Dark Palaces

Grand Days, Dark Palaces

The Contradictions of Liberal Ordering1

(p.87) Chapter 4 Grand Days, Dark Palaces
Liberal World Orders

Heather Rae

Christian Reus-Smit

British Academy

Exploring contradictions inherent in liberal orders, this chapter questions the treatment of liberalism in the International Relations academy as a relatively straightforward set of beliefs about the individual, the state, the market, and political justice. It asserts that the contradictions and tensions within liberal internationalism are in fact deep and troubling. Highlighting some of liberalism's obscured and sometimes denied contradictions — between liberal ‘statism’ and liberal ‘cosmopolitanism’; between liberal ‘proceduralism’ and liberal ‘consequentialism’; and between liberal ‘absolutism’ and liberal ‘toleration’ — the chapter explores their implications for liberal ordering practices internationally. It concludes that liberal political engagement necessitates a more reflective standpoint and more historical sensibility if we are to be aware of how contradictions have shaped liberal orders in the past and are likely to continue to do so in the future.

Keywords:   liberal contradictions, statism, cosmopolitanism, proceduralism, liberal toleration, Mill, political justice

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