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  4. Ethnographic Thinking in International Law




Ethnographic Thinking in International Law




Speaker: Dr Luis Eslava - University of Kent

Series: International Law and Affairs Group (ILAG) research seminars series


International law is too often represented as existing only in removed spaces and extraordinary events and norms. In understanding international law in this way, the international legal enterprise confirms its authority to enframe certain things as international and others as prosaic, often domestic, lower level occurrences disassociated from the larger mechanics of the world. With the help of late-colonial cinematographic footage and photographic vignettes of everyday life in rapidly globalizing cities, this presentation will discuss both the critical importance of paying attention to this prosaic side of the international legal order and the role of ethnographic thinking for its exploration.

About the Speaker

nullDr Eslava's research focuses on the relationship between international and domestic legal orders, and the effects of this relationship both on our jurisprudential understanding of these areas of law, and on the constitution of everyday life in today's global order. He is particularly interested in the rationale and contradictions behind the trend of the increasing impact of local jurisdictions such as cities and municipalities on the international scene. In order to explore the operation of international norms and discourses on the ground, Luis's work combines doctrinal and historical analysis with extensive ethnographic fieldwork in community and institutional settings. Recent case studies include Bogotá, Rio de Janeiro and Istanbul.

Other areas of research which have informed his work over the last few years include:

  • the long-standing relation between imperialism and international law; 'new constitutionalism' in the Global South;
  • international economic law and institutions
  • postcolonial and Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL)
  • the changing dynamics of occupation law and humanitarian intervention
  • contemporary practices in the Law & Development field (including Corporate Social Responsibility), and new approaches to urban law

Luis is also a Senior Fellow at Melbourne Law School, an International Professor at Universidad Externado de Colombia, and a Docent at Harvard Law School's Institute for Global Law and Policy.

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When and where

1.00pm - 3.00pmWednesday 12th November 2014

AG23 College Building City, University of London St John Street London EC1V 4PB United Kingdom

Contact Details

International Law and Affairs Group

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom
+44 (0)20 7030 4103

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