Collaboration, Complicity and Cosmopolitanism

31 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2003

See all articles by Ruth Buchanan

Ruth Buchanan

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Sundhya Pahuja

Melbourne Law School


In this article, the authors use our experience of collaboration as a vehicle for thinking critically about the uneasy relationship between the practices and products of internationally oriented legal scholars situated in the North. They use tools drawn from feminist theory to tease out, in particular, some of the perils in the turn to cosmopolitanism as a response to globalisation, and explore the way in which this mirrors a cosmopolitan urge both embedded in international legal discourse and at play in the self-constitution of the international lawyer (including themselves). They then draw on feminist and other critical theories to ask whether a conceptual reconfiguration of a "critical cosmopolitanism" can offer a useful alternative to the old view. They remain wary about whether any reconfigurations with a "global" scale can overcome the problems which inhere in purportedly transformative western scholarship generally, and so conclude somewhat circumspectly, emphasising the need to frame their approach reflexively and to focus on changes they could make to their everyday practices of teaching and research to reduce the risk of complicity with the unacknowledged parochialism of cosmopolitanism.

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Buchanan, Ruth and Pahuja, Sundhya, Collaboration, Complicity and Cosmopolitanism. Available at SSRN: or

Ruth Buchanan

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

Sundhya Pahuja (Contact Author)

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University of Melbourne
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
+61 3 8344 7102 (Phone)

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