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

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/97

22 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2010  

Fleur E. Johns

University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law

Ben Saul

The University of Sydney Law School

Philip Hirsch

The University of Sydney

Tim Stephens

The University of Sydney Law School

Ben Boer

University of Sydney - Faculty of Law, Environmental Law; Research Institute of Environmental Law, Wuhan University

Date Written: October 8, 2010

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.

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

Johns, Fleur E. and Saul, Ben and Hirsch, Philip and Stephens, Tim and Boer, Ben, 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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1689343

Fleur E. Johns (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law ( email )

UNSW Australia
Sydney, New South Wales 2052
Australia
+61 2 9385 9893 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unsw.edu.au/profile/fleur-johns

Ben Saul

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New 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

The University of Sydney ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney, NC NSW 2006
Australia

Tim Stephens

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Ben Boer

University of Sydney - Faculty of Law, Environmental Law ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Research Institute of Environmental Law, Wuhan University

Luojia Hill, Wuchang
Wuhan, Hubei
China

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