Populism, International Law, and the End of Keep Calm and Carry on Lawyering
Forthcoming in the Netherlands Yearbook of International Law
25 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2018
Date Written: December 13, 2018
The relationship between populism and international law is mostly conveyed as one of populist-problem versus international law-solution. International lawyers feel called upon to respond to the rise in populism with multilateralism and liberal internationalism in a ‘keep calm and carry on lawyering’ fashion. However, this attitude of us (the internationalists) versus them (the populists) tends to present a geographically Western-centric and epistemologically euro-centric view of populism and international law. Two crucial aspects about populism and international law are overlooked in this narrow understanding: First, the role that international lawyers and institutions have played in institutionalising and upholding neoliberalism and therefore in creating a specific type of nationalist populist backlash; and second, the progressive forms of populism which may be compatible with a radical internationalism of solidarity.
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