Possibilities of the Past: Histories of the NIEO and the Travails of Critique

Forthcoming, 29 Journal of the History of International Law

Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2017-36

Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2017-26

Law and Justice Across Borders Research Paper No. 2017-02

30 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2017 Last revised: 18 Oct 2017

See all articles by Ingo Venzke

Ingo Venzke

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for International Law

Date Written: August 11, 2017

Abstract

The resurfacing interest in the New International Economic Order (NIEO) is mainly driven by the ambition of regaining a sense for possibilities of the past so as to question the present and to open up different futures. This ambition resonates with that core of critical thinking, which pushes towards an appreciation of contingencies. What else was possible? When approaching this question of how it could have been, however, historical inquiries risk overstating the possibilities of different action at the expense of determining structures. On the international plane in particular, there are narrow opportunities to induce legal change through institutionalized politics. Critical historical inquiries also need to counter a tendency towards excess nostalgia for that which was not. More than anything else, the history of the NIEO testifies to the great difficulties when trying to turn claims about contingency into compelling narratives. Another way of approaching the NIEO does not place actual possibilities at its centre, but unrealized potentials.

Keywords: New International Economic Order (NIEO), Contextualization, Contingency, Critical Legal Histories, Determination, Possibility, Nostalgia, Normative Surplus, Potentiality

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Venzke, Ingo, Possibilities of the Past: Histories of the NIEO and the Travails of Critique (August 11, 2017). Forthcoming, 29 Journal of the History of International Law; Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2017-36; Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2017-26; Law and Justice Across Borders Research Paper No. 2017-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3017127

Ingo Venzke (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for International Law ( email )

REC A - Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
Amsterdam, 1018WV
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.uva.nl/profiel/v/e/i.venzke/i.venzke.html

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