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Rasulov, A. (2010)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Languages: English
Types: Other
Subjects:
A new genre of scholarly writing has emerged in recent years in the field of what one can broadly call critical international theory. Its principal defining feature is an intense preoccupation with the phenomenon of the so-called ‘new world order’, which it tries to explain and describe through an analytical lens constructed primarily around two ideas: the idea of ‘empire’ and the idea of ‘imperial law’. In this article I attempt to provide a brief overview of this genre, which for the sake of simplicity I shall call henceforth the ‘new imperial law’ or NIL genre, and to reflect critically on its underlying ideological dynamics.
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    • 18 H. L. A. Hart, 'Positivism and the Separation of Law and Morals', (1958) 71 Harvard Law Review 593, at 621 ('we must not present the moral criticism of institutions as propositions of a disputable philosophy').
    • 19 F. Jameson, The Political Unconscious (2002), 38.
    • 20 E. Ehrlich, Fundamental Principles of the Sociology of Law (1936), 493-506.
    • 21 This is not, admittedly, the most charitable reading of Agamben's legal-theoretical argument. For other, more generous takes, see, e.g., D. McLoughlin, 'In Force without Significance: Kantian Nihilism and Agamben's Critique of Law', (2009) 20 Law and Critique 245; J. Whyte, '“I Would Prefer Not To”: Giorgio Agamben, Bartleby, and the Potentiality of Law', (2009) 20 Law and Critique 309; T. Zartaloudis, Giorgio Agamben, Power, Law and the Uses of Criticism (2010). See also, more generally, P. Fitzpatrick and P. Tuitt (eds.), Critical Beings: Law, Nation and the Global Subject (2004).
    • 22 See, e.g., F. Jones, 'Guanta´ namo Bay and the Annihilation of the Exception', (2005) 16 EJIL 613.
    • 23 Hart, supra note 18, at 620: 'The vice of this use of the principle that, at certain limiting points, what is utterly immoral cannot be law or lawful is that it will serve to cloak the true nature of the problems with which we are faced and will encourage the romantic optimism that all the values we cherish ultimately will fit into a single system, that no one of them has to be sacrificed or compromised to accommodate another.'
    • 24 Mi e´ville, supra note 10, at 319: 'A world structured around international law cannot but be one of imperialist violence. The chaotic and bloody world around us is the rule of law' (emphasis in original).
    • 33 David Kennedy, 'The International Human Rights Movement: Part of the Problem?', (2002) 15 Harvard Human Rights Journal 101, at 116-17.
    • 38 M. Koskenniemi, From Apology to Utopia (2005), 564.
    • 39 W. Holt, 'Tilt', (1984) 52 George Washington Law Review 280; E. Pashukanis, Selected Writings on Marxism and Law (1980).
    • 40 Although, of course, we can argue about the actual limits of this tilt at rather considerable length. Compare Mi e´ville's argument with Koskenniemi's. See Mi e´ville, supra note 10, at 48-60.
    • 41 A. Rasulov, 'International Law and the Poststructuralist Challenge', (2006) 19 LJIL 799, at 806-8, 815-16.
    • 42 One cannot rule out, of course, the possibility that, ultimately, this is just a result of some strategic choice. In an intellectual environment traditionally dominated by the Westphalian statocentric paradigm, deploying the Marxist analytic in earnest is not, after all, the most effective way to make one's name.
    • 43 Cf. H. Ticktin, 'Political Economy and the End of Capitalism', (2007) 35 (1) Critique 67.
    • 44 For an excellent attempt to explore this problematic in a decidedly systematic fashion, albeit mainly from an international relations perspective, see G. Arrighi, Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-First Century (2007). See also P. Anderson, 'Jottings on the Conjuncture', (2007) 48 New Left Review 5; S. Watkins, 'Continental Tremors', (2005) 33 New Left Review 5.
    • 45 See the essay by Panitch and Grindin (pp. 21-43).
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