Intellectuals without borders

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Intellectuals are those in society preoccupied with symbols, and since symbols cross national boundaries, intellectuals are expected, an expectation many of them share,1 to transcend national interests in the name of universal norms. Since intellectuals emerged as a social force in the modern age, a process symbolized by Emile Zola’s cry ‘j f ’accuseP against the political, military and church establishments in France during the Dreyfus affair, men and women of letters - novelists, poets, philosophers, artists, scholars, some professionals-were associated with a conscientious stand, derived from universally held norms, vis-a-vis national politics. Such a stand was mostly apparent when nation-states went to war in the name of national interests which stood in contrast to universal notions of justice, but the reverse has also occurred-intellectuals demanding armed intervention warranted by universal norms claimed to be neglected by nation-states.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Intervention
Subtitle of host publicationSovereignty versus Responsibility
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781135312626
ISBN (Print)0714681946, 9781315040035
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


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