Moral Agency in Global Practices of Responsibility: Assessing UN Humanitarian Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)


The concept of moral responsibility has been increasingly deployed in world politics. International community invokes doctrines such as the Responsibility to Protective (R2P) and International Criminal Court (ICC)’s legal decisions to hold political actors accountable to universal obligations. While the subject has become of prominent interest among political philosophers, insufficient attention has been directed towards understanding the transforming nature of the agent who carries this responsibility. The autonomy and rationality of agents are in great part supposed in detriment of a more profound analysis of the value of agency as a social practice that can enable or disable moral responsibility. One remarkable exception is Hoover’s work emphasizing not only that a responsible agent is a socially construction, as in Frost and Linklater, but also that the act of holding responsible is a coercive and creative political act. Though agreeing in principle with Hoover that the allocation of responsibility largely reflects the way privileged agents portray marginalized others, I claim that the particularities of globalization are reshaping traditionally perceived relations of power. The particularities related to the multiplicity of poles of authority and their dynamic interactions are rendering less evident moral agents’ portraits in terms of clear-cut dichotomies. As a result, the allocation of responsibilities among them becomes more diffuse. To support my claim, I analyze the UN mandate and reports produced along the 10 years of UN humanitarian assistance mission for Iraq (UNAMI). I specify the building-up and changing character of collective

Author Information
Alessandra Sarquis, Université Paris IV, France

Paper Information
Conference: ACERP2015
Stream: Ethics - Ethics and Globalization

This paper is part of the ACERP2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon