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This chapter examines whether the unbalanced treatment of private rights on land and at sea is justified by reasons of a legal or practical nature: are the interests of non-state actors entirely irrelevant to the international law of the sea? Are land and maritime delimitation too different to be reconciled? Are offshore private rights less significant than land rights? The chapter concludes that none of those reasons can satisfactorily justify the ineffective protection which private rights receive in the context of maritime delimitation. This underlines the need for an equilibrium in the treatment of private interests on land and at sea.
The chapter introduces a collection of essays first presented at an international conference at the Transnational Law Institute, King’s College London. The authors engage Philip Jessup’s landmark study, “Transnational Law” (1956) and go well beyond that. Jessup’s book launched an analysis of the role that law plays for border-crossing human and institutional relations. But, the context in which Jessup wrote – as an international lawyer, an arbitrator and economic lawyer – is today one of global geopolitical change and domestic state transformation. Both render the interdisciplinary investigation into law’s role in a global context ever more crucial. “Transnational law” – as label, concept or methodology – occupies an important place in this undertaking, not as a marker of a new, self-standing doctrinal legal field, but as an opportunity to think about the foundations of law today in a volatile, deeply divided world. Transnational law becomes a methodological laboratory in which to study law’s relation to other forms of social ordering, its sources and norms, its actors and processes, its regulatory aspirations and democratic (and, other) infrastructures.
Both state-centrism and Eurocentrism are under challenge in international law today. This article argues that this double challenge is mirrored back into the study of the history of international law. It examines the effects of the rise of positivism as a method of norm-identification and the role of methodological nationalism upon the study of the history of international law in the modern foundational period of international law. It extends this by examining how this bequeathed a double exclusionary bias regarding time and space to the study of the history of international law as well as a reiterative focus on a series of canonical events and authors to the exclusion of others such as those related to the Islamic history of international law. It then analyses why this state of historiographical affairs is changing, highlighting intra-disciplinary developments within the field of the history of international law and the effects that the ‘international turn in the writing of history’ is having on the writing of a new history of international law for a global age. It concludes with a reflection on some of the tasks ahead, providing a series of historiographical signposts for the history of international law as a field of new research.
State-centrism is a key concept in discussions of sovereignty, justice, and the global political order and of changes within that order. Thus we routinely hear: ‘that analysis is far too state-centric!’ Or: ‘earlier approaches were marred by excessive state-centrism, and need to be reconsidered in the light of contemporary circumstances’. Or even: ‘I'm state-centrist and proud of it’. This article brings into focus some of the themes associated with state-centrism in international legal writing, and suggests something of the limits of this way of framing issues. It also raises the possibility that these themes may provide clues to certain characteristic and apparently deep-rooted, but not always clearly recognized, anxieties on the part of those who work in this field. Borrowing a phrase from Harold Bloom, the article refers to these as anxieties of influence.
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