Dense Struggle: On Ghosts, Law, and the Global Order
A. Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos (ed), Routledge Handbook of Law and Theory (Forthcoming).
38 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2018
Date Written: February 14, 2018
Today’s global order is characterised by a constellation of ever more closely-imbricated relationships among different laws, levels of government, managerial techniques, economic, political and social forces and deeply-engrained antagonisms. This chapter tries to rethink this – our – global order as a site of ‘dense struggle’, using a body of visual and ethnographic material gathered over a period of six months in 2009, when I accompanied a group of Internal Displaced People (IDPs) protesting in the city of Bogotá, Colombia. During this period, this group engaged in a long and unsuccessful protest for the recognition of their rights as IDPs against the local administration of Bogotá, the national government and various international institutions. In following their protest, their agonies, and a ghost that appeared in the middle of all of this, it is possible to appreciate some of the products of today’s global order, and in particular what this order produces on its margins: home to the popular, the (supposedly) anti-modern, the otherworldly. Three suggestions emerge from this exercise. First, that in paying attention to the products of today’s global order it becomes possible to question anew what law does and how it is experienced in our global times. Second, this exercise helps us to recalibrate what our response should be once we remember that our assumedly uniform late-modern, globalised, capitalist and disenchanted present is healthily plagued by frictions and clashes – clashes through which other worlds speak. Finally, this exercise invites us to consider the value of approaching law ethnographically in these dense times.
Keywords: Anthropology of International Law, International Law, Legal Theory, Ghosts, Law, Social Movements, Protest, IDP
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