"Exclusions", ethnic cleansings, and neutrality.
Nightmares of current politics, and hopes and failures of social and political ideas of liberal philosophy
of liberalism, political liberalism
2. The West and the"Clash of Civilizations"
the human rights theory and practice - an acme of development of liberal
ideology (development of the West - "the End of History").
The themes gathered in above points refer to the famous discussion regarding justification and consequences of distinguishing many civilizations in the world and defining their various "interests" and values they are based on. First I'm intorducing here the cathegory of "the West" as geographical and political one, and I'm examining consequences of such definition. Referring to works by Edward Said, Immanuel Wallerstein and Maria Todorova, I would like to render how the West has being created in opposition to "the other", geographically, politically and culturally. The process was hardly a neutral one. As Todorova noticed, division of world into the West and the East (Oriental) resulted in distinction between "civilized" and the "barbarian". For me, because of the subject of my project, the most significant is idea that just mentioned division, as Larry Wolff observed, corresponded with the development of the conception of modernization (or, following Fernand Braudel and I. Wallerstein, development of the modern, liberal society), and as such emerged relatively late, precisely in the period of the Enlightenment. What is even more interesting, it was connected at the same time with discovering Eastern Europe by Western Europe. This motive will be present in my project till the end.
This will be also the place in my research, where I would like to pay attention for Samuel P. Huntington's suggestions from his book "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order". Is he right, or these are his critics who are correct, like for example Giovanni Arrighi, for whom the main line of division of different political and social "realities" is not the one marked by civilizations or cultures but the one which divides rich coutries from those of the third world, which (because of unfair global distribution of the capital) are doomed to exist in a permanent poverty.
This part of my studies will also have a form of "reconstruction" of some statements that has been already made in the recent history of social thinking. But the very way of arranging the material I will be working with, certain points (like the one about a need to rethink methods of perceptions of the "provincial" that remains outside the "center") must be treated as very important when we take under consideration recent discussions about political order and transformation that take place in the countries from Eastern Europe, also in Poland. Above note is valid when it comes to following parts of my project, where I would try to base my ideas only on my own reflections drawing some conclusions important for political theory developed in our country, as well as, more geeral, for cultural, political and social situation of Poland. Domestic studies still require here some further considerations and work. I'm hoping to offer one.
3. The Balkan
It is the point, where I'm focusing on more concrete problems. Firstly I will ask a question about possibility of detailed, non-theoretical, considerations of particular issues. Then I would like to draw some conclusion from that attempt. The subject of my research here will be social and political reality of Eastern Europe (or Central-Eastern Europe). I will reflect following topics: perception and relationship of Western Europe to Eastern Europe, relationship of the European "East" to the Western "Center" (problems of modernization and westernization), "iron curtain" as legitimization of political division and distinction of the spheres of influences of two cold-war empires, building of civil societies and democratization of Eastern Europe, the fall of communism and idea of "return to Europe", critical characteristic of conception of "transition" (economic, political and cultural difficulties). The inclusion of the cathegory of "Eastern Europe" into part of the project with the title "The Balkan Challenge" is by no means an accident. I would like to offer here a definition of notions like "balkan" and "balkanization" as ones which function in western social sciences and, following Maria Todorova's abservations, try and search for their deeper reference, more than a merely regional one.
3.2. A Voice
from the Balkans
and illusions of "civilizing" of the "Balkan powder keg"
of the civil society
to blame, who is the victim? Idea of liberal democracy distrusted.
4. Liberalism as one of the ways of defining the good life
4.1. Limits of political liberalism
5. In search
for possibilities of "social change"
That endeavour will serve as a possibility of introduction of another perspective in political philosophy. I would like to refer in this moment to results of studies by authors involved in a leftis criticism of the western democratic society. Thinkers gathered around the American journal, Dissent, as well as those more radical, connected with Z-Magazine, seek for perspectives and chances for existence of the modern society. Such intellectuals as Michael Albert and Stephen Shalom intensify their work when the world faces crises like the one in Kosovo in last few months.