International Law and Its Discontents: Rethinking the Global South
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I have much to agree with in the remarks of Professor Otto and Professor Santos—particularly their focus on the postcolonial and the distinction between Freud and Stiglitz in thinking about discontents. I want to make three interrelated arguments: first, international law’s discontents have always been its peripheries, whose relationship to the core of international law has been historically captured by the TWAIL scholarship; second, this periphery (which, following current conventions, I shall call ‘‘the global South’’) is itself a complex arena now, not solely defined by victimhood but by a hegemonic and a counter-hegemonic global South which are themselves in tension; and third, that the rise of complexity and tension within the global South is symptomatic of the general crisis of the global economic and political system, symbolized most recently by the global economic crisis, but in fact much deeper and much longer in duration. This crisis could be both a moment of opportunity and challenge for international law, but that depends on which global South ends up having influence on the evolution of international law and how it relates to the hegemonic global North.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Proceedings of the Annual Meeting (American Society of International Law)
American Society of International Law
Balakrishnan Rajagopal. “International Law and Its Discontents: Rethinking the Global South.” Proceedings of the Annual Meeting (American Society of International Law) 106 (2012): 176.
Author's final manuscript