Author(s): Ntina Tzouvala
Methodologically and theoretically innovative, this monograph draws from Marxism and deconstruction bringing together the textual and the material in our understanding of international law. Approaching 'civilisation' as an argumentative pattern related to the distribution of rights and duties amongst different communities, Tzouvala illustrates both its contradictory nature and its pro-capitalist bias. 'Civilisation' is shown to oscillate between two poles. On the one hand, a pervasive 'logic of improvement' anchors legal equality to demands that non-Western polities undertake extensive domestic reforms and embrace capitalist modernity. On the other, an insistent 'logic of biology' constantly postpones and engages such a prospect based on ideas of immutable difference. By detailing the tension and synergies between these two logics, Tzouvala argues that international law incorporates and attempts to mediate the contradictions of capitalism as a global system of production and exchange that both homogenises and stratifies societies, populations and space.
> Offers a fresh perspective to disciplinary debates about legal indeterminacy by showing that the contradictions of 'civilisation' are the way the pro-capitalist bias of international law manifests itself
> Combines methodological tools drawn from Marxism and deconstruction, enabling the reader to take the textuality of the law seriously while also situating these texts within the structures of global capitalism
> Elucidates the role and continuing purchase of racialised and gendered tropes for international legal argumentation and helps its audience decipher the racist and sexist presuppositions of supposedly neutral legal doctrines
Research theme: International Law