‘The Existence and Use of “Evil” in International Politics’

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    Project Manager :
    Kazuhiko Takeuchi

    This project looks at the way the idea of “evil” has re-emerged as an important way of describing actors and behaviour in international politics. Notably, despite its polarizing nature, the term “evil” has made its way into UN discourse, being used in reference to genocide, nuclear weapons, racism, rape, drugs and a range of international crimes. The upsurge in the use of this term has potentially serious ramifications, however, given its tendency to promote a dichotomous, absolute world view. In separating the “good” from the “evil” and “us” from “them”, it threatens to prevent dialogue and compromise, and in some cases, foster the likelihood of violence. In this context, the project seeks to explore the role of evil in contemporary international politics: how it is understood and used by different state and UN actors, and the consequences that flow from the way it is employed. The project aims to move beyond philosophical accounts on the nature of evil, to consider how it operates in international politics.