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A Return to Koskenniemi; or the Disconcerting Co-Optation of Rupture

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A Return to Koskenniemi; or the Disconcerting Co-Optation of Rupture
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    ArticlesAReturntoKoskenniemi,ortheDisconcertingCo-optationofRupture  ByPaavoKotiaho *  Therealityofideologicalphenomenaistheobjectiverealityofsocialsigns.Thelawsofthisrealityarethelawsofsemioticcommunicationandaredirectlydeterminedbythetotalaggregateofsocialandeconomiclaws.Ideologicalrealityistheimmediatesuperstructureabovetheeconomicbasis.Individualconsciousnessisnotthearchitectoftheirideologicalsuperstructure,butonlyatenantlodginginthesocialedificeofideologicalsigns. 1  I. Receivedwisdomtellsusthattheleft-winginternationallawprojectdatesbacktothelate1980s,encompassingatremendouslyvariedgroupofparticipants.Assuch,ratherthantryingtoshoe-hornthismotley-crewofmoreorlesstheoreticallymindedpeopletofitthelabelof‘anapproach’ora‘schoolofthought’wewouldbebetterofftakingcuefromAkbarRasulovandrecognizethatwhatwearedealingwithisbestunderstoodaseithera‘project’ora‘discursivepractice,’ 2 delineatedbyDuncanKennedyas:[A]continuousgoal-orientedpracticalactivitybasedonananalysisofsomekind(withatextualandoral   * ThisessayisaneditedversionofatalkgivenattheUniversityofCambridge,UKduringtheInterestGroupofInternationalLegalTheorySessionoftheEuropeanSocietyofInternationalLaw’s4 th BiennialConference.Manythankstotheaudience,myco-panelists,andtheconferenceorganisers.ThisarticlehasbenefitedtremendouslyfromconversationsoverthepastyearswithJarnaPetman,JanKlabbers,AkbarRasulov,JasonBeckett,andJohnHaskell.IoweaspecialdealofgratitudetoRobKnoxforhiseruditeacademicscrutinyandcamaraderie.Finally,IwouldliketothanktheGermanLawJournal,theeditorsofthisspecialsection,andtheanonymousreviewerformakingthepublicationofthisessayareality.Allfaultsofstyleandsubstanceareminealone.Email:paavo.kotiaho@helsinki.fi .  1 V ALENTIN N IKOLAEVICH V OLOSHINOV ,  M ARXISMANDTHE P HILOSOPHYOF L ANGUAGE (1973),availableat : http://www.marxists.org/archive/voloshinov/1929/marxism-language.htm(lastaccessed:24April2012). 2 AkbarRasulov, NewStream:ACriticalGenealogy, unpublisheddraftpaperpresentedatThe‘NewStream’TwentyYearsOn:ACriticalGenealogyworkshopheldattheUniversityofGlasgow(19February2010),availableat:http://ssrn.com/abstract=1675446(lastaccessed24April2012).   [Vol.13No.05   484   GermanLawJournal tradition),butthegoalsandtheanalysisarenotnecessarilyinternallycoherentorconsistentovertime.Itisacollectiveeffort,butalltheplayerscanchangeovertime,andpeopleatanygivenmomentcanbepartofitwithoutsubscribingtoorevenbeinginterestedinanythinglikeallitspreceptsandpracticalactivities….Itisn’taprojectunlesspeopleseeitassuch,butthewaytheyseeitdoesn’texhaustwhatoutsiderscansayaboutit. 3 Further,despitethisdiscursivepracticebeingacollectiveeffortdefinedbytheparticipants’commonunderstandingofbelonging,withprojectsasvariedasfeministcritique,lawandsemiotics,thirdworldapproachestointernationallaw,newlawanddevelopment,andglobalgovernancestudies–theparticipantsinthesevariousprojectsneverthelesshaveasharedunderstandingofwhichworksconstitutethefoundationsorstartingpointsofthemovement,oratleastwhichworksaremostcommonlycitedandread.ItisinthissharedunderstandingthattherelevanceoflookingatthescholarshipofMarttiKoskenniemifindsitsroots.Putdifferently,itissubmitted–adoptingtheargumentbyVoloshinovabove–thatwhenexaminingtheobjectiverealitybywhichtheleftwinginternationallegalprojecthasproducedandreproducedknowledgeaboutitself,wefindthatthescholarshipofMarttiKoskenniemioccupiesacentralrole.Asimilarargument-albeitfocusingonspecificformofcommunicativeagency-wasputforwardsomefivedecadesafterVoloshinovbytheFrenchthinkerMichelFoucaultinhislecturetitled WhatisanAuthor?  Inthislecturemappingthefunctionofanauthor,Foucaultexplainsthatwhileitisimpossibletoacknowledgeanyauthor’srighttotheownershipofmeaning,itisneverthelessnecessaryforcertainnamestoserveaspointsofreferenceparticularlywhendealingwith‘inventorsofdiscourse’or‘initiatorsofdiscursivepractices.’Withregardstothesenames,Foucaultargues“thedistinctivecontributionoftheseauthorsisthattheyproducednotonlytheirownwork,butthepossibilityandtherulesofformationofothertexts.” 4 Assuch,itisinevitablethatparticipantswhichidentifythemselveswithinthesediscursivepracticesconstantlyperforma‘returnto’thesefoundationaltexts.Thisoccurs,notonlyinordertofindsomefundamentalinadequaciesorgapswithinthesetexts,butalsoinordertoseektotransformandrestructurethefield.   3 D UNCAN K ENNEDY ,  C RITIQUEOF A DJUDICATION 6(1997). 4 MichelFoucault, WhatIsAnAuthor?  , in L ANGUAGE ,  C OUNTER -M EMORY ,  P RACTICE :  S ELECTED E SSAYSAND I NTERVIEWS B Y M ICHEL F OUCAULT 113,131(DonaldF.Boucharded.,1977).  2012]485   KoskenneimiandtheDisconcertingCo-optationofRupture Furthermore,itisvitaltorecognizethatthisreturnisalwaysinreferencetothefoundationaltextitself.Forwhatthis‘returnto’establishesisthere-readingofthesefoundationaltextsinviewofthelegacyoffuturestrategiesthatarebothmarkedbyfutureresemblancesandfuturedifferencestothesetexts,for[Theinitiatorsofdiscursivepractices]clearedaspacefortheintroductionofelementsotherthantheirown,which,nevertheless,remainwithinthefieldofdiscoursetheyinitiated.InsayingthatFreudfoundedpsychoanalysis,wedonotsimplymeanthattheconceptoflibidoorthetechniqueofdreamanalysisreappearinthewritingsofKarlAbrahamsorMelanieKlein,butthathemadepossibleacertainnumberofdifferenceswithrespecttohisbooks,concepts,andhypotheses,whichallariseoutofpsychoanalyticdiscourse. 5 Ifonetakesthesetwopreliminaryargumentsseriously,recognizingMarttiKoskenniemi’sroleasaninitiatorofthediscursivepracticesoftheleft-winginternationallegalproject,whoconsequentlynotonlygivesrisetothepossibilityoffutureprojects,butalsosetsthe‘rulesofformationoffuturetexts,’thenthequestionmustbe:whatarethesecoordinatessetoutbyKoskenniemifortheformationoffuturetextsintheleft-winginternationallegalproject,andwhataretheirpoliticalimplications?Inotherwords,weneedtoaskwhetherthecelebrationbyKoskenniemi’sepigoniofhisscholarship’sdidacticallyemancipatoryvalueholdsanymerit,orissimplythemorbidlysymptomaticwishfulthinkingofthesocalled‘critic’whoinpracticeisstrivingtoappendthestillnascentleft-winginternationallegalprojectontotheliberalstatusquo? 6 Buthowdoesonegoaboutfindinganswerstothesequestions?FollowingVoloshinovthisessayproceedsbystudyingtheevolutionofthescholarshipofMarttiKoskenniemi–fromtheearly indeterminacythesis tohislatercallfora cultureofformalism —allthetimebearinginmindthattheaimistodiscoverthetotalaggregateofsocialandeconomiclaws,whichgovernitsconditionsofexistence.Putdifferently,whattheauthorisalludingtoisthefactthatthecontradictionbetweentheappearanceandessenceofKoskenniemi’swork   5  Id. at132. 6  See A NTONIO G RAMSCI ,  S ELECTIONS F ROMTHE P RISON N OTEBOOKS 276(QuintinHore&GeoffreyN.Lloydeds.&trs.,1987):“Thecrisisconsistpreciselyinthefactthattheoldisdyingandthenewcannotbeborn;intheinterregnumagreatvarietyofmorbidsymptomsappear.”MygratitudetoRobKnoxforbringingthistomyattention.   [Vol.13No.05   486   GermanLawJournal [I]sinseparablefromthetotalstructureofthesocialbodyinwhichitisfound,inseparablefromitsformal conditions ofexistence,andevenfromthe instances itgoverns;itisradically affectedbythem ,determining,butalsodeterminedinoneandthesamemovement,anddeterminedbythevarious levels and instances ofthesocialformationitanimates. 7 Assuch,IwillfirstdiscussKoskenniemi’sdescriptivecriticalprojectbyexamininghisworkonthe indeterminacythesis ofinternationallegalargument(PartII)anditsnormativeethicalcorollaryembodiedinhiscallfora cultureofformalism asameaningfulinternationallegalpractice(PartIII).Thentheessaywillarguethatwhileatfirstitmayseemthatthiscouplingdoesprovidetheleft-winginternationallegalscholarwithanaccountofanemancipatoryorcriticalpracticeofinternationallaw,theessenceoftheargumentcontradictsthisappearance(PartIV).Thisessaywillultimatelyconcludethatanappropriatealternativeapproachforthecontemporaryleft-winginternationallegalprojectisonethatrejectsanidealizationofinternationallaw,aswellastheargumentthatinternationallawoughttobeabandonedasasiteofintellectualandpoliticalinvestment(PartV). II. AgoodstartingpointforthisstudycomesfromKoskenniemi’sownelucidationofthetwokindsofuneasehehadwithregardstotheinternationallegalprofession,whichledhimtowritehisfirstbook FromApologytoUtopia :First,existingreflectiononthefieldhadfailedtocapturetheexperienceIhadgainedfromitthroughpracticewithinFinland’sMinistryofForeignAffairs,especiallyinvariousUnitedNationscontexts.Inparticular,Ifeltthatnoneofthestandardacademictreatmentsreallycapturedortransmittedthesimultaneoussenseofrigorousformalismandsubstantiveorpoliticalopen-endednessofargumentaboutinternationallawthatseemedsostrikingtome.Second,thereseemedtomenogoodreasonwhythe“field”ofinternationallawortheambitionoftheinternationallawyer(matterswhichareofcoursenotunconnected)shouldbelimitedintellectuallyor   7  See  L OUIS A LTHUSSER ,  F OR M ARX 101(BenBrewstertrans.,1969).  2012]487   KoskenneimiandtheDisconcertingCo-optationofRupture politicallythewaytheywere….Iwantedtoresuscitatethesense,oreventheunavoidability,of….commitmentforameaningfulinternationallegalpractice. 8 WhatweseehereisthatanintimateconnectionexistsbetweenKoskenniemi’sdescriptivecriticalprojectrelatingtoassessinghowlegalargumentisproduced,andhisnormativeethicalproject, i.e. thecallfortherenewedcommitmentfora meaningful  internationallegalpractice.Assuch,inordertounderstandthisrelationshipanddevelopmentletusfirstturntothedescriptiveelementofthisenterprise.Inessence,whatthedescriptive indeterminacythesis expoundedbyKoskenniemistates,isthattheconstitutivefoundingtenetsoftheliberaltheoryofpoliticsunderlyingourcurrentinternationallegalstatusquo,presentinternationallegalargumentwithaparadoxicalstructure.Thetheoreticalpointbeingthatinaninternationalsphereconstitutedsolelyofsovereignandequalactors,liberalismcannotontheonehanddenytheexistenceoftheobjectivityofvalueandsimultaneouslyclaimtoresolveconflictthroughtheapplicationofthe‘objectivelegality’oflaw.Inotherwords,“ifliberalismpreservesitsradicalskepticismaboutvalues,thenitcannotgroundacoherentproblem-solvingpractice—ifitmakesreferencetotheobjectivenatureofsomevaluesitwillundermineliberty.” 9 FirstofallitisimportanttorealizethatthefocusofKoskenniemi’sdescriptive indeterminacythesis istheactualincidenceofinternationallegalargument. 10 Assuchtheindeterminacycritiqueitselfisitselffirmlyrootedintheliberaltheoryofpoliticsunderlyingtheinternationallegaldiscourse.Byacceptingtheradicalinsightsof‘liberalism’andtakingthemtotheirlogicalconclusions,theindeterminacythesisshowsthatthegrammarofinternationallegalargumentationnecessitatesthatargumentskeeponendingupinincompatiblepositionsthatcanequallywellbejustifiedbytheconstitutiveassumptionsofthesystem. 11 ThispatternhasbeendescribedbyProfessorKoskenniemiastheoscillationoflegalargumentsbetweenan apology  forthebehaviorofthoseequalandsovereignStateactorsanda utopia ofinvokingtheidealofaninternationalordergovernedbytheobjectivelegalityoflawasawaytoresolveconflictbetweentheseverysameactors(i.e.anoscillationbetweennormativityandconcreteness). 12    8 M ARTTI K OSKENNIEMI ,  F ROM A POLOGYTO U TOPIA :  T HE S TRUCTUREOF I NTERNATIONAL L EGAL A RGUMENT 562(2005). 9  Id. at89. 10 OutiKorhonen, NewInternationalLaw:Silence,DefenceorDeliverance ,7E UROPEAN J OURNALOF I NTERNATIONAL L AW (EJIL)  1,10(1996). 11  Id. at10;NigelPurvis  ,  CriticalLegalStudiesinPublicInternationalLaw, 32H ARV .  I NT ’ LL .  J.81,  119-120(1991). 12 Koskenniemi, supra note8at17; seealso MarttiKoskenniemi, ThePoliticsofInternationalLaw  ,1EJIL  1,3-8(1990).

Teza PPR

Mar 24, 2018
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