From Apology to Utopia and The Inner Life of International Law

Rasulov, A. (2016) From Apology to Utopia and The Inner Life of International Law. Leiden Journal of International Law, 29(3), pp. 641-666. (doi: 10.1017/S0922156516000248)

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A certain body of mythology has emerged in recent years around Martti Koskenniemi’s From Apology to Utopia (FATU). At its heart lies a group of received wisdoms that tell us that FATU should essentially be considered a work of postmodern scholarship, that it provides a typical illustration of the so-called deconstructivist approach, and that its single most significant contribution to the field of international legal theory lies in its discussion of the subject of legal indeterminacy. In this essay, I seek to challenge and displace this set of narratives, by excavating and restoring to the surface FATU’s original intellectual project: a highly ambitious attempt to revive the traditional enterprise of ‘legal science’ by marrying Kelsenian legal positivism with Saussurean structuralist semiotics. By incorporating the ethos of applied sciences into its broader critical-theoretic enterprise, FATU managed, in the end, to develop a set of analytical idioms and reasoning protocols that could be made use of with equal facility by academic international lawyers and international legal practitioners alike. In doing so, it succeeded in achieving a goal that had eluded even Kelsen himself: it gave the international law profession not only a reason but also the necessary intellectual materials to revolutionize its ‘pop jurisprudence’. Thus, far from being a manifestation of any kind of postmodernist sensibility, FATU, I am going to argue, represents, in fact, the exact opposite of it.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Rasulov, Professor Akbar
Authors: Rasulov, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:Leiden Journal of International Law
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):1478-9698
Published Online:28 July 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Foundation on the Leiden Journal of International Law
First Published:First published in Leiden Journal of International Law 29(3): 641-666
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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