The humanitarian condition : US public spheres and the 1999 war over Kosovo
The 1999 war over Kosovo shaped, and was in turn shaped by, US public spheres. Chapter I offers a theoretical and historical account of the importance of publics to US political development, especially the founding of an official liberal-republican state-based public sphere. Four organisational themes are identified - law, technology, dissent, and foreigners - as key normative and practical benchmarks by which we can observe this development and extend to the war over Kosovo. Chapter 2 develops ideas about the violence associated with the diffusion of public and private through a discussion of the ambivalent role of law in legitimating the war. The chapter traces the complex meanings attributed to law during processes crucial to defining the official public sphere and the emerging global order as evidenced by the war. Chapter 3 suggests that the information technology used to conduct and debate the air campaign embodied the socially constituted values of the official public sphere and provided a means by which counterpublic spheres could be created. Chapter 4 argues that despite the role of technology and NATO's humanitarian claims in limiting public dissent anti-Kosovo war activists participated in and constituted counterpublic spheres. These alternative, but increasingly marginalised, publics reveal modes and types of publicity not captured in liberal and deliberative theoretical accounts. Chapter 5 extends the argument about different ways of 'being public' through an analysis of how Serb- and Albanian- American immigrants and Kosovo-Albanian refugees were represented in the official public domain. Several norms associated with gender, race, and economy appeared to be upheld and invigorated via representations of these 'foreigners'. Chapter 6, which is the most explicit in drawing Hannah Arendt, addresses endeavours to transpose the public sphere category to an emerging global public realm, especially Habermasian efforts to legitimate violent intervention.