Rasulov, A. (2019) Utopians. In: Singh, S. and d'Aspremont, J. (eds.) Concepts for International Law: Contributions to Disciplinary Thought. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, pp. 879-899. ISBN 9781783474677

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The concept of utopianism, however one looks at it, is not a technical legal concept. It is not a formal product of the everyday legal process and it certainly cannot be considered a legal term of art – the way, for instance, the concept of anticipatory self-defence can. Nor does it form an operative part of some other legal construct or doctrine – the way, for example, the idea of the common heritage of mankind does. And yet if one looks at the broader conceptual landscape surrounding the contemporary international legal discourse, it certainly seems to carry a very particular meaning in the eyes of what one might call the international legal profession lato sensu, a meaning which in many ways appears to be unique and without any discernible parallel in other comparable cultural arenas and discursive traditions. Or at least that is the general impression one tends to get when one starts to inquire into this subject. For, of course, no professional community, least of all one that is so deeply infused with a sense of political ambition and status anxiety as the international legal profession, could ever exist in a wholly self-enclosed cultural universe. Whatever one may think about the extreme singularity of the legal culture, a certain ineradicable sense of continuity has always existed between the internal conceptual structures of the international legal discourse and those used in the world outside its plane. This relationship of fundamental semantic continuity covers the case of international legal utopianism as effectively as any other. One way to understand the central aim and objective of this essay would be to look at it as an overview of the general limits and forms of this relationship of continuity. An alternative approach would be to think of it more as an exercise in discursive archaeology or an investigation of one of international law’s most under-explored clusters of narratives, topoi, and professional mythologies.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Rasulov, Professor Akbar
Authors: Rasulov, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Publisher:Edward Elgar
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Edward Elgar Publishing
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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