International Law, Theory and History: Ordering Through Distinctions

Introduction to Jean d'Aspremont (ed.), The History and Theory of International Law (Edward Elgar), volume I and volume II, 2020

27 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2020

See all articles by Jean d'Aspremont

Jean d'Aspremont

Sciences Po Law School; University of Manchester - School of Law

Date Written: March 10, 2020

Abstract

A wide variety of mechanisms can potentially be used to order discourses. Distinctions are one of them. Indeed, distinctions are not only common modes of thinking. They are also powerful modes of ordering. Distinctions’ ordering does not solely boil down to a repression that demotes impermissible thoughts to the realm of the impossible, the metaphysical, or the magic. Distinctions also organize the critique of the order they put in place. This paper, which constitutes the introduction to two major resources volumes, focuses on two key distinctions at work in international legal thought and practice, namely the inter-disciplinary distinction between international law and history, as well as the intra-disciplinary distinction between theory and practice. This paper questions these distinctions in their own terms and seeks to project an alternative image to that shaped by the dominant inter-disciplinary and intra-disciplinary orders of international law. The alternative image promoted here is one of an international lawyer who, whether she is a judge, a counsel, an academic, or an activist, constantly theorizes and historicizes. According to such an image, theorizing and historicizing constitute the core business of international lawyers in the many capacities with which they intervene in the problems of the world.

Keywords: International Law, International Legal Theory, History of International Law, Theory and Practice, Modern Legal Thought, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism

Suggested Citation

d'Aspremont, Jean, International Law, Theory and History: Ordering Through Distinctions (March 10, 2020). Introduction to Jean d'Aspremont (ed.), The History and Theory of International Law (Edward Elgar), volume I and volume II, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3551906 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3551906

Jean D'Aspremont (Contact Author)

Sciences Po Law School ( email )

13 rue de l'université
Paris, 75007
France

HOME PAGE: http://www.sciencespo.fr/ecole-de-droit/en/profile/daspremont-jean

University of Manchester - School of Law ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL, M139PL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/research/Jean.daspremont/

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