Decency and difference : humanity and the global challenge of identity politics / Steven C. Roach.

Roach, Steven C. author.
Ann Arbor, Michigan : University of Michigan Press, 2019.
1 online resource (xiii, 258 pages)
Humanity -- Political aspects.
Ethics -- Political aspects.
Political ethics.
Identity politics -- Moral and ethical aspects.
Electronic books.
Decency remains one of the most prevalent yet least understood terms in today's political discourse. In evoking respect, kindness, courage, integrity, reason, and tolerance, it has long expressed an unquestioned duty and belief in promoting and protecting the dignity of all persons. Today this unquestioned belief seems to be in crisis. Tribalism and identity politics have emerged to challenge its moral efficacy. But in responding to this crisis, many scholars and policymakers continue to undertheorize its political role in the national and global arena. This has become increasingly problematic since it means downplaying the many conflicting and contentious applications of decency in global politics. This book argues that in representing many essential standards of fair treatment and dignity protection, decency can instead be understood as a primary source of political tension in the global arena. It distinguishes among a basic, conservative, and liberal strand of decency to conceptualize the political tensions involved in promoting basic social needs, liberal values, and traditional customs. The deployment of these three strands helps to explain the evolution of decency from the British and American Empire to the global network of justice, or what it calls 'global moral propriety' in the post-Cold War era and the conflicts between its universal and particular applications. By discussing the interplay of its progressive and retrogressive qualities and the role of emotion and affect in capturing its political reality, the book shows how these differing strands expose the propriety gaps in decency, or the disparate ways that decency is practiced in global politics. In treating propriety as the practice of decency, the book addresses the important challenge of reconciling different political proprieties and configuring a diverse political ethic of decency. The book also applies the theoretical ideas to three case studies in international relations: Islamism in Egypt, the connection between international and local justice in Uganda, and the moral predicament of the Roma in Europe.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 239-258).
Description based on information from the publisher.
Michigan Publishing (University of Michigan), issuing body.
Publisher Number:
10.3998/mpub.9394344 doi
Access Restriction:
Restricted for use by site license.
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