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Part III Regimes and Doctrines, Ch.28 Something to do with States

Gerry Simpson

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law

Edited By: Anne Orford, Florian Hoffmann

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 24 June 2024

Responsibility of international organizations — Customary international law — General principles of international law — Relationship of international law & host state law — Sources of international law

This chapter suggests that the law of sovereignty and statehood tends to be practiced, organized, and theorized around two sets of argument (and a sleight of hand), and that this tendency has produced certain effects on the distribution of political resources in global politics. The first argument is structured around the material and immaterial qualities of statehood, as it maintains that the ‘infinite transition’ discussed by Peter Fitzpatrick is produced partly by the elasticity of the doctrinal ground and partly by the remarkable stability of a very particular and idealized sovereign subject. The second argument rests on an idiom of fragmentation and unity, by juxtaposing an apparent golden age of post-Charter state sovereignty with both a decentralized nineteenth-century sovereignty, and a more protean, early twenty-first century sovereignty. Finally, the ‘sleight of hand’ operates around the relationship between routine statehood and sui generis sovereignty.

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