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Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review x Jaar 2013 x
Article

Access_open From Legal Pluralism to Public Justification

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3/4 2013
Trefwoorden legal pluralism, diversity and law, law and justification, concept of law
Auteurs Dr. Emmanuel Melissaris
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The paper offers an argument for a conception of legal pluralism, which has some substantive upshots and at least partly alleviates that legal pluralism may regress to rampant relativism. In particular, I will argue that law in its pluralist conception is inextricably linked to the requirement of public justification. This is not by way of appealing to any transcendental normative ideals but as a matter of entailment of the very practice of law. But, perhaps to the disappointment of many, this procedural requirement is the only practical consequence of the concept of law. For thicker, substantive limits to what law can do and for ways in which legal pluralism may be reduced in real contexts one will have to turn to the actual circumstances furnishing the law with content and a different kind of thinking about the law.


Dr. Emmanuel Melissaris
Associate Professor of Law, Law Department, London School of Economics and Political Science. I am grateful to Sanne Taekema and Wibo van Rossum as well as the two anonymous referees for their helpful critical comments. A version of this paper was presented at the School of Law, Queen Mary University of London. I am indebted to all the participants in that seminar and particularly to Roger Cotterrell, Ann Mumford, Maskymilian del Mar, Prakash Shah, Valsamis Mitsilegas, Wayne Morrison, Michael Lobban, Richard Nobles and David Schiff. Many thanks also to Sean Coyle, George Pavlakos, Alexis Galan Avila and Mariano Croce for their valuable comments on earlier drafts of the paper. I am solely responsible for all remaining errors.
Artikel

Access_open On Fragments and Geometry

The International Legal Order as Metaphor and How It Matters

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 1 2013
Trefwoorden international law, fragmentation, archaeology, Foucault, geometry
Auteurs Nikolas M. Rajkovic
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article engages the narrative of fragmentation in international law by asserting that legal academics and professionals have failed to probe more deeply into ‘fragmentation’ as a concept and, more specifically, as a spatial metaphor. The contention here is that however central fragmentation has been to analyses of contemporary international law, this notion has been conceptually assumed, ahistorically accepted and philosophically under-examined. The ‘fragment’ metaphor is tied historically to a cartographic rationality – and thus ‘reality’ – of all social space being reducible to a geometric object and, correspondingly, a planimetric map. The purpose of this article is to generate an appreciation among international lawyers that the problem of ‘fragmentation’ is more deeply rooted in epistemology and conceptual history. This requires an explanation of how the conflation of social space with planimetric reduction came to be constructed historically and used politically, and how that model informs representations of legal practices and perceptions of ‘international legal order’ as an inherently absolute and geometric. This implies the need to dig up and expose background assumptions that have been working to precondition a ‘fragmented’ characterization of worldly space. With the metaphor of ‘digging’ in mind, I draw upon Michel Foucault’s ‘archaeology of knowledge’ and, specifically, his assertion that epochal ideas are grounded by layers of ‘obscure knowledge’ that initially seem unrelated to a discourse. In the case of the fragmentation narrative, I argue obscure but key layers can be found in the Cartesian paradigm of space as a geometric object and the modern States’ imperative to assert (geographic) jurisdiction. To support this claim, I attempt to excavate the fragment metaphor by discussing key developments that led to the production and projection of geometric and planimetric reality since the 16th century.


Nikolas M. Rajkovic
Lecturer in International Law at the University of Kent Law School. Contact: n.rajkovic@kent.ac.uk. The research for this article was supported by a Jean Monnet Fellowship from the Global Governance Programme of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute. Further support was given for the presentation and discussion of earlier drafts by COST Action IS1003 “International Law between Constitutionalization and Fragmentation”, the Institute for Global Law and Policy of the Harvard Law School, the Kent Law School and the International Studies Association (San Francisco Annual Convention). I am indebted to the helpful feedback of Tanja Aalberts, Katja Freistein, Alexis Galan, Harry Gould, Outi Korhonen, Philipe Liste, Nicholas Onuf, Kerry Rittich, Harm Schepel, Anna Sobczak, Peter Szigeti, Wouter Werner and the two anonymous reviewers.
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