Towards Utopia – Rethinking International Law (Introduction)
German Yearbook of International Law 60 (2017), Forthcoming
17 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2018
Date Written: 2017
In the face of recent challenges to international law and its institutions, a sense of despair and resignation pervades some parts of international legal scholarship – a mindset which may work to close off the ability to think, feel, and imagine alternatives. As a counterpoint to such despair, this paper explores the potential of utopianism as a framework for rethinking international law which provides grounds for hope. Building on the articles contained in the Special Section "Towards Utopia – Rethinking International Law" which it introduces, the paper discusses three topoi of utopianism in relation to international law: first, the diversity of utopian approaches, ranging from grand blueprints to everyday utopias; second, the relation of utopianism to critique, and specifically to critical approaches to international law; and third, the complicated role of international law in relation to social change.
Keywords: utopianism, international law, grand blueprints, everyday utopias, eutopia, despair, hope, denaturalisation, critical international legal theory
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