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Law and the Mekong River Basin: A Social-Legal Research Agenda on the Role of Hard and Soft Law in Regulating Transboundary Water Resources


Fleur E. Johns


University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law; Faculty of Law, University of NSW

Ben Saul


University of Sydney - Faculty of Law

Philip Hirsch


University of Sydney

Tim Stephens


University of Sydney - Faculty of Law

Ben W. Boer


University of Sydney - Faculty of Law

October 8, 2010

Melbourne Journal of International Law, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 154-174, 2010
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/97

Abstract:     
This commentary sketches a research agenda for mapping the normative networks through which debates concerning transboundary water resources in the Mekong River Basin are being conducted, particularly those networks’ transnational legal dimensions. It argues that traditional ‘hard versus soft law’ analyses of the Mekong River Basin have to date paid too little attention to the role that legal vocabularies, institutions and actors are in fact playing on this highly contested terrain. Such analyses have, moreover, been insufficiently attentive to the particular, plural understandings, expectations and makings of law traceable to parties living and operating in the Mekong River Basin. The commentary outlines a research agenda informed broadly by Michel Foucault’s writing on governmentality and Pierre Bourdieu’s reflexive sociology and outlines some preliminary intuitions animating that agenda. It advocates, in brief, Mekong specific inquiries into hybrid and variegated forms of legal knowledge and their uneven distribution, beyond any single hard–soft law continuum.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 22

Keywords: international law, water, Mekong River, transboundary water resources, law and society, governance, environmental law and policy

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32, K33

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Date posted: October 9, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Johns, Fleur E. and Saul, Ben and Hirsch, Philip and Stephens, Tim and Boer, Ben W., Law and the Mekong River Basin: A Social-Legal Research Agenda on the Role of Hard and Soft Law in Regulating Transboundary Water Resources (October 8, 2010). Melbourne Journal of International Law, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 154-174, 2010; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/97. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1689343

Contact Information

Fleur E. Johns (Contact Author)
University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law ( email )
Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia
Faculty of Law, University of NSW ( email )
Faculty of Law
University of NSW
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia
Ben Saul
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )
Faculty of Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.usyd.edu.au/about/staff/BenSaul/index.shtml
Philip Hirsch
University of Sydney ( email )
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
Tim Stephens
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )
Faculty of Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
Ben W. Boer
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )
Faculty of Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
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