Reterritorializing Deterritorialization

12 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2016

See all articles by Daniel R. Ortiz

Daniel R. Ortiz

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: October 26, 2016


As many have noted, the rise of supranational organizations has detached legal and regulatory authority from traditional territorial political structures. That is, these organizations have “deterritorialized” power traditionally belonging to states. This essay explores deterritorialization. It first analyzes the concept itself. What types of legal and political questions does deterritorialization privilege and make relevant, what regulatory structures and practices does it problematize and how so, and what normative prescriptions does it logically, if often surreptitiously, entail? It then borrows a more recent and broader concept of deterritorialization from social theory to criticize and further explore the traditional legal concept. What issues does the traditional legal concept blind us to and what new areas does the newer concept illuminate? Like the traditional concept, of course, the newer one smuggles in its own assumptions about how things do and should work and may, in turn, be blind to many things itself. Neither approach can claim to represent a comprehensive or neutral analysis. Using them to better understand each other, however, serves to illuminate some important issues in public law, particularly international administrative law. This essay explores one such issue: the so-called ‘democratic deficit’ thought to afflict much supranational, particularly EU, regulation.

Keywords: Deterritorialization, Deleuze, Guattari, comparative administrative law, European Union, democratic deficit, legitimacy, cultural deficit

Suggested Citation

Ortiz, Daniel R., Reterritorializing Deterritorialization (October 26, 2016). Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2016-61. Available at SSRN:

Daniel R. Ortiz (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
804-924-3127 (Phone)
804-924-7536 (Fax)

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