Blaney & Inayatullah  2000
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Blaney & Inayatullah 2000

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ments but suggest that Waldron’s reading is much too narrow, ignoring Locke’s under-
standing of religion as intrinsically a voluntary, individual matter and his (albeit
inconsistent) embrace of tolerance as a good in itself.

42 Blaney and Inayatullah

standards and political repression (Tully 1993:53–57; Wootton 1993:38–39,
106–109; Jenkinson 1995; Creppell 1996:202, 217–221). Indeed, as Hinsley
(1986:138–150) carefully recounts, the doctrine of sovereign power was nec-
essarily related (by Bodin, Grotius, Hobbes, and Locke) to the conception of a
“body politic,” bringing together people, state, and territory into a unified, har-
monious whole. David Campbell (1992:42) likewise has referred to this emerg-
ing notion of citizenship and the state as the “passage from difference to identity.”
Thus the equation of cultural diversity and political chaos on the one side, and
cultural homogeneity and political order on the other, was central to the legacy
of political thinking bequeathed to us by this era.11

James Tully elaborates this point. The dominant interpretation of the causes
of the Thirty Years War was that it stemmed from “conflicts over the locus of
sovereignty”—“that the conflicting jurisdictions and authorities of the ancient
constitutions were the cause of wars.” If ambiguity or uncertainty was the cul-
prit, it was imperative “that authority had to be organized and centralised by the
constitution in some sovereign body” (Tully 1995:66– 67). For the people to be
understood as capable of constituting a sovereign authority, they had to be
conceived as “culturally homogenous in the sense that culture is irrelevant,
capable of being transcended, or uniform.” The idea was embraced, conse-
quently, that the people form “a society”—defined variously as “equal individ-
uals in a state of nature,” or as a collective existing “at a ‘modern’ level of
historical development,” or as a “community” bound together by a conception
of the good—that preexists the “uniform political association” to which they
are inevitably (rationally) drawn to construct (Tully 1995:63– 64). Unlike the
customary and irregular (or “multiform”) character of the old regime, that was
the source of so much trouble,

the sovereign people, in modern societies, . . . establish a constitution that is
legally and politically uniform: a constitution of equal citizens who are treated
identically rather than equitably, of one national system of institutionalised
legal and political authority rather than many, and a constitutional nation equal
in status to all others. (Tully 1995:64– 67; long quotation from p. 66)

11 Despite the distance between Locke’s time and the present, including genuine
advances in thinking about difference and tolerance in the interim, the presumption
that liberalism is an unassailable doctrine that requires a uniform order remains. Toul-
min and Tully’s assessments, just below, are indicative of the continued power of the
thinking of this period and the increasing vibrancy of dissenting views. In fact, liber-
alism’s purported universality (or neutrality) is increasingly rejected as a partisan view,
even by its own supporters (Galston 1991: part II; Rawls, 1996: lecture IV). And
liberal versions of religious tolerance—secularism, for example—are equally no lon-
ger sacrosanct, now challenged as biased and overly restrictive (Nandy 1990; Chatter-
jee 1995; Connolly, 1999).

The Westphalian Deferral 43

Tully (1995:66) sees this “legal and political monism” as “perfectly understand-
able” given the experience of the years of warfare, but this does not vindicate
what he calls an “empire of uniformity.” 12 Rather, Tully (1995:1) argues that
the modern ideal of uniform constitutionalism serves as an impediment to our
capacity to “recognize and accommodate cultural diversity.”

Toulmin’s assessment is quite close to Tully’s. For Toulmin (1990:128), a
new “scaffolding of modernity”—constructed on the basis of “principles of
stability in and among the different sovereign nation-states, and hierarchy within
the social structure of each individual state”—legitimated a new social and
political order. Although this represented a “timely response to the general
crisis of seventeenth-century politics”—a suturing of the “wounds” in the Medi-
eval “Cosmopolis”—he is not sanguine about the results. He argues that, though
we have found these certainties and legitimations unconvincing ultimately, we
have been given inadequate guidance as to how we are to respond to the prob-
lem of difference (Toulmin 1990:80, 89, 172–175).

Thus, following Tully and Toulmin, we read Westphalia not only as a defer-
ral of the problem of difference, but also as directing us down a path of theory
and practice deeply suspicious of, if not actively hostile, towards diversity. The
problem is magnified where our celebration of modernity continues to blind us
to the inadequacy of the guidance bequeathed to us by Westphalia. It is to the
contemporary resonance of the Westphalian deferral that we now turn.

International Society and the Contemporary
Deferral of the Problem of Difference
The society of states, as we have already noted, is strongly associated with the
principle of tolerance among different and separate political communities. There
is something to this belief, but the association is quite fragile and burdened with
numerous complications and discrepancies. We believe it is more accurate to
see the theory and practice of international society as largely a deferral of a
genuine recognition, exploration, and engagement of difference. This deferral
is achieved in several intertwined moves. In international society, the “other” is
located outside the state, beyond the boundaries of political community. The
idea that the state is a political community suggests that, within the state, a
realm of relative “sameness”—a cultural homogeneity and a uniform constitu-
tion in Tully’s terms—is presumed. To put this set of ideas somewhat differ-
ently, the differences constituting each state as a particular political community
are kept separate and managed within the boundaries of the state. This demar-

12 The term “empire of uniformity” is in the title of the chapter containing Tully’s
historical account.

44 Blaney and Inayatullah

cation and policing of the boundary between the “inside” and “outside” of the
political community defines the problem of difference as between and among
states; difference is marked and contained as international difference. This con-
struction of difference allows us to “solve” the problem by negotiating a “modus
vivendi” among political communities. A minimal set of rules—revolving around
sovereignty and nonintervention—constitutes international society as a world
of mutually tolerant political communities. In this account, it is the very
minimalism—the impartiality or “neutrality”—of this “sovereignty” solution
that stabilizes the system: any and all, regardless of culture or ideology, can
find a home in this world. Or so the story the goes.

We suggest a different interpretation of international society in which the
problem of difference is pervasive. The bounded political community con-
structs (and is constructed by) the “other,” both beyond its boundaries, lurking
as a perpetual threat in the form of other states, foreign groups, imported goods,
and alien ideas, and as difference within, vitiating the presumed but rarely, if
ever, achieved “sameness.” The “other” within the boundaries of the political
community is “managed” by some combination of hierarchy, eradication by
assimilation or expulsion, and tolerance. The external “other” is left to suffer or
prosper according its own means, interdicted at border crossings, and balanced
and deterred. Our responses to the “other” seem perpetually drawn towards the
equation: difference/inferiority/eradication. Indeed, the “inside/outside” logic
performs an act of “splitting”—an exclusion of the overlap of “self” and “other”
that works to deflect our responses to difference