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Description without apology? On structures, signs and subjectivity in international legal scholarship

journal contribution
posted on 2018-12-01, 00:00 authored by John MorssJohn Morss
In this examination of the state of the art in the methodology of international legal scholarship, attention is focused on the role of explanation and of description. Explanatory claims couched in terms of structure, of signs and of ‘the Other’, and of individual subjectivity, are interrogated. In contemporary international jurisprudence explanations in terms of structure, sign and subjectivity are typically applied eclectically and in amalgamation with sociological and historical explanations. Questionable claims are made concerning the revelation of hidden truths and speculative narratives of origins and development. Koskenniemi’s contribution to these debates is not so much a structuralist exercise revelatory of deep processes, but rather a strategic deployment of rhetorical technique. Ways forward include attending to Orford’s advocacy of description as against explanation in international legal scholarship.

History

Journal

Indian journal of international law

Volume

58

Issue

3-4

Pagination

235 - 264

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media

Location

New York, N.Y.

ISSN

0019-5294

eISSN

2199-7411

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

2019, The Indian Society of International Law