Law and the Mekong River Basin: A Social-Legal Research Agenda on the Role of Hard and Soft Law in Regulating Transboundary Water Resources
Melbourne Journal of International Law, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 154-174, 2010
22 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2010
Date Written: October 8, 2010
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.
Keywords: international law, water, Mekong River, transboundary water resources, law and society, governance, environmental law and policy
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation