04 August 2018

Critical International Legal Theory

'Critical International Legal Theory' by Fleur E Johns in Jeffrey L Dunoff and Mark A Pollack (eds), International Legal Theory: Foundations and Frontiers (Cambridge University Press, 2019) comments 
 This chapter presents an account of three phases of writing and practice in critical international legal theory, after first identifying some braided historico-political fuel lines for these cycles of work. These phases correspond to successive periods of revisionism: a pre-1989 reckoning (dating from the mid-late 1970s) with the non-materialization of the promises of socialist revolution and the disappointments of the cosmopolitan, decolonization, and development projects; a 1989 to 1999 reckoning with the apparent triumph of liberalism/neo-liberalism and the Washington Consensus; and a current phase, dating from approximately the turn of the millennium, of reckoning with the post-Washington Consensus, the renewed spread of authoritarian nationalism/nativism, and the prevalence of casualization and automation. In each of these, critical international legal theory has been marked by certain persistent commitments and proclivities which this chapter will briefly examine, before speculating about some possible galvanizing themes of international legal work in this vein in the future.