The Real Promise of Federalism: A Case Study of Arendt’s International Thought

European Journal of Political Theory:147488512090605 (forthcoming)
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Abstract
For Hannah Arendt, the federal system is an effective mode of organizing different sources of power while avoiding sovereign politics. This article aims to contribute two specific claims to the burgeoning scholarship on Arendt’s international federalism. First, Arendt’s international thought calls for the balancing of two demands: the domestic need for human greatness and flourishing, and the international demand for regulation and cooperation. Second, her reflections on council-based federalism offer a nuanced position that views the dual elements of equality in politics (intra-state and inter-state equality) as neither contradictory nor reconciliatory but rather as ideal types along a continuum. This study shows that, through the unique form of federalism emphasizing the need to balance two demands of free politics with a clear acknowledgement of its precariousness, Arendt’s thinking adds much-needed sensitivity to international discourse.
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First archival date: 2020-04-24
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