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Hopgood, Stephen (2009) 'Moral authority, modernity, and the politics of the sacred.' European Journal of International Relations, 15 (2). pp. 229-256.

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Abstract

Capitalist modernity's paradox is to erode explicitly the social capital it relies on implicitly to mobilize people to act in concert when they share neither an identity nor an interest. Monetization and rules are the exemplary mechanisms for realizing modernity's aim of commensurability between all social qualities. Simmel helps us see this. But these abstractions create an authority vacuum. The experience of Amnesty International, emblem of modernity, is an example of efforts to overcome this. A close analysis of Amnesty shows that its authority is derived not from Kantian universalism but from a representation of the sacred that serves as a non-modern foundation for modernity. Even as attempts are made to profane this moral authority through commodification and politicization, we can see in the universalization of the Holocaust narrative a renewed effort at creating a singular global memory for humanity as a whole.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: human rights, secular religion, international relations
SOAS Departments & Centres: Administration and Professional Services > Governance and Compliance
Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Legacy Departments > Centre for the International Politics of Conflict, Rights and Justice
ISSN: 14603713
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.1177/1354066109103138
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2015 15:55
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/21542

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