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Kelsall, Michelle Staggs (2022) 'Disordering International Law.' European Journal of International Law, 33 (3). pp. 729-759.

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This article examines critical approaches to liberal internationalism in international law. It argues that, despite ongoing disavowals of the liberal international legal order, most critical international lawyers are yet to let go of liberal vocabularies in order to re-imagine how order might be constituted anew. The article proposes a disordering critique of international law. Disordering international law comprises a process of reflective discernment. Through this process, norms, conventions and principles are determined with reference to a multiplicity of spatial and temporal orders and reframe any understanding of how legal order is constituted internationally. Drawing from the concept of non-duality proposed by Ratna Kapur and the writings of Justice Cançado Trindade, it then conceptualizes a disordering sensibility. Scholars embarking on international legal disordering would ask: how do I understand the arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other? How is ‘order’ determined as a result? What sequence, pattern or method am I imposing and how does that affect any characterization of ‘legal’ ordering? Whose knowledge is included, whose knowledge is excluded and why? The analysis, however, does not stop there. The further and final questions to ask are: how does this change any conception of legal ordering that remains central to the practice of international law? And how might we begin to conceptualize that order and practice differently? The return to practice provides a path towards change, which the article argues is urgently needed. I commence with some answers to these questions and hope to open a space for further disordering, premised on a turning away from dominant liberal frames.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: School Research Centres > Centre for the Study of Colonialism, Empire and International Law
School Research Centres > Centre for Human Rights Law
Departments and Subunits > School of Law
Subjects: K Law > KZ Law of Nations
ISSN: 09385428
Copyright Statement: This is the version of the article/chapter accepted for publication in European Journal of International Law published by Oxford University Press. Re-use is subject to the publisher’s terms and conditions
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2022 14:44

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