Cosmopolitanism Conference, Oslo 15-16 October 2009



Cosmopolitan Justice and its Discontents Interdisciplinary Conference

15-16 October 2009

Hosted by the KULTRANS programme at the University of Oslo, Norway

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General Information -- Guide to Oslo -- Contact -- Deadlines -- Conference Overview -- Program -- Papers

General Information

The conference is hosted by the KULTRANS programme at the University of Oslo, in cooperation with the Faculty of Law.

It will take place at the Voksenåsen Hotel (, in the Dag Hammarskjöld Conference Pavillion. International guests will be lodged at Voksenåsen as well.

Transport to hotel from the airport: Please take the airport train to the Oslo S Central Station. From the Central Station, take a taxi to the hotel. The airport train (flytog) information is available on the internet:

Oslo can be cold in October, so please bring warm sweaters and socks, overcoat, and good boots or shoes that can tolerate rain or snow.


Guide to Oslo

General information:


Professor Cecilia Bailliet
Phone: +47 90740305

Professor Katja Franko Aas
Email: k.f.aas at



Deadline for Abstracts: The abstract deadline was May 30, 2009.

Deadline for First Draft: September 15, 2009.


Conference Overview

Cosmopolitanism is attributed to have had a direct impact on the evolution of international law, specifically in the arena of human rights, migration, labour rights, international criminal law, health, security, trade, finance, and the protection of the environment. Cosmopolitan justice has expanded the scope and social dynamics of legal and institutional orders at the local, national, and international levels. Moreover, the assumption that human beings are rights-deserving subjects of equal moral worth has informed much of contemporary writing on global justice and jurisprudence and contributed to the empowerment of marginalized groups, such as women, refugees, labour migrants and indigenous groups.

Cosmopolitan justice evolves in and inhabits a world of increasing global interconnectedness and interdependence; nevertheless it is also marked by unequal power relations. The globalist and universalist imaginary of cosmopolitanism increasingly meets the challenge of reconciliation with local, cultural and social differences. Furthermore, the deepening of the expansion of trans-national criminal networks, a world financial crisis, climate change, the expansion of licit and illicit trans-national private actors (lacking regulation and control) is prompting the emergence of new geo-political structures. This emphasizes the need for re-evaluation of existing forms of governance and institutional orders.

We invite papers discussing and exploring legal, philosophical, sociological and methodological aspects of cosmopolitan justice. We seek to explore how new civil societies and spaces emerge and how political and legal institutions function in a trans-national world. We aim to look at normative, legal, theoretical and empirical aspects of the creation, compliance, and enforcement of cosmopolitan justice, including the puzzles and paradoxes of these developments. Further, we welcome papers describing counter-cosmopolitan structures and processes and examining the consequences of fragmentation, deconstruction, and privatization of statehood and sovereignty.

Possible topics of interest:

Institutions, Legitimacy and Power Relations

Is democratic accountability at the global level achievable?

The role of nationhood and the national.

The role and legitimacy of international, regional, national and local tribunals (human rights, international criminal law, trade, etc.) in interpreting “cosmopolitan law”.

Legal pluralism and international crimes: the relationship between traditional legal systems and institutions of international justice. What are the principles for resolving conflicts between competing legal regimes?

How do norms migrate between legal orders and what is the interaction of these systems?

What are the processes adopted by “norm enforcers” such as NGOs in the promotion of “new” customary law?

Cosmopolitan justice – ‘from below’ or ‘from above’?

How does cosmopolitan justice mirror hegemonic power relations, and what is its potential to challenge them?

How does the rise of the East and the South impact the viability of cosmopolitan perspectives?

Peace & Security

What is the relation between cosmopolitanism and peace?

Conflicts and merger between public and private actors and the consequences for justice, peace and security.

Legal and ethical legitimacy of humanitarian military interventions and the ‘Responsibility to Protect’.

The impact of the global war on terror, narco-trafficking, and other global crime wars, on human rights standards, peace, and security.

Marginalized Groups, Global Poverty and Gender Equity

How does the construction of new group identities within international law impact the sovereign state system?

New causes and forms of human migration and reception/rejection by states.

How are marginalized groups empowered by international law to improve their participation in civic and economic life?

The impact of legal pluralism upon gender equity and indigenous rights.

What are the consequences of modern legal pluralism in relation to advancing or constricting procedural and substantive justice?

The Environment

Does cosmopolitan justice in- or exclude ecological justice?

The impact of climate change on international law and state sovereignty.

What are the responsibilities of Non State Actors?

The rise of a new world order based on common but differentiated responsibilities?

The impact of climate change upon human rights.

A View Towards the Future

Cosmopolitan justice for future generations? What is the temporal scale of cosmopolitanism and how does the law correspond to this?

Can cosmopolitan justice pave the way to a sustainable future?

Does cosmopolitanism fail when facing complexity?

How to reconcile universal aspirations of cosmopolitan justice and social, economic, and cultural differences?

Cosmopolitanism in times of converging crises: normative feedback loops.



Day 1:

9:00 Welcome Cecilia Bailliet & Katja Franko Aas

9:10 Keynote: Costas Douzinas, Against Cosmopolitanism or for a Cosmopolitanism to Come

Cosmopolitan justice and sovereignty:

10:15 Sam Adelman, Cosmopolitanism and Sovereignty

10:45 Coffee Break

11:00 Ronald Tinnevelt, Cosmopolitanism in a World of Interconnected Threats and Challenges: From a World of States to a World State?

11:30 Q & A Chair Inger Johanne Sand

12:00 Lunch

Regional and Institutional Perspectives:

13:00 Ulrike M. Vieten, Seeking the Agent of Cosmopolitan Justice: Challenging the Bias of a Weltburger and the Cosmopolitan Antagonist

13:30 Kyriaki Topidi, Religion and Constitutional Reform in Turkey: From Islamic Governance to Good Governance?

14:00 Yong Zhou, Institutionalizing People’s Rights in the Nation-State Building Process: The Power of Human Rights and its Dilemma in China

14:30 Q & A Chair: Ole Kristian Fauchald

15:00 Coffee Break

 Cosmopolitanism, difference and exclusion:

15:15 Cecilia Bailliet, Towards Holistic Transnational Protection and Sub-Altern Cosmopolitanism: The Emergence of Kidnapping as Grounds for Asylum

15:45 Katja Franko Aas, A Borderless World? Cosmopolitanism, Boundaries and Frontiers

16:15 Coffee Break

16:30 Barbara Hudson, All the People of All the World: a Cosmopolitan Perspective on Migration and Torture

17:00 Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Frictions of Hospitality and The Possibilities of Everday Cosmopolitanism

17:30 Q & A Chair Mads Andenas

18:00 End of First Day

19:00 Conference Dinner (at Voksenåsen Hotel)

Day 2:

Peace, International Criminal Law and Reconciliation:

9:00 C.H. Brants-Langeraar, Guilty Landscapes: Collective Guilt in International Criminal Law

9:30 Kristin B. Sandvik, The Politics and Possibilities of Victimhood, A Cosmopolitan Perspective

10:00 Q & A Chair: Helge Jordheim

Cosmopolitanism, global markets and fairness:

10:15 Keynote: Robert Wai, Cosmopolitanism in Transnational Contract Law

11:00 Coffee Break

1115 Thomas Christiano, Towards a Conception of Democratic Fairness in International Negotiation

11:45 Q & A

12:00 Lunch

13:00 Ragnar Nordeide, Assessing the Relevance of Cosmopolitanism in the Legal Reasoning of the European Court of Human Rights- Exploring the Legality and Legitimacy of the Court’s Methodological Approach

13:30 Malcolm Langford & Khulekani Moyo, From Theology to Political Economy: The International Investment Regime,Human Rights Law and Cosmopolitan Competition

14:00 Claire Methven O’Brien, Does Global Market Integration Limit the Scope to Achieve Cosmopolitan Ideals? And if so, what are we to do about it?

14:30 Coffee Break

14:45 Inger Johanne Sand, The regulation of biotechnology as a case for cosmopolitan law

15:15 Christina Voigt, State Obligations for Sale: The Global Common Market and State Sovereignty

15:45 Q & A Chair Andreas Føllesdal

16:15 Panel: Cosmopolitanism in Practice

Andreas Føllesdal, Gro Nystuen, and Ola Mestad: The Council of Ethics

17:00 Conclusion and Information about Publication of the Papers


Read the papers here.
Requires username and password. For this information, please contact Cecilia Bailliet

Published Feb. 9, 2011 11:34 AM - Last modified Feb. 9, 2011 11:35 AM