Global law and governmentality: (Re)Conceptualising the "Rule of Law' as Rule "through" law

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41 Citations (Scopus)


This article (11, 596 words) was published in Europe’s premier journal of interdisciplinary International Relations, the European Journal of International Relations. The article looks at the “rule of law” topos in global governance scholarship, and specifically questions how liberal IL and IR scholars, such as Anne-Marie Slaughter, equate the “rule of law” with the American judicial model expressed in the US Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison. My argument provides a Foucauldian critique of Anne-Marie Slaughter’s vision of a “global community of courts”, bringing into question whether the expansion of international courts and tribunals will deliver genuine constitutional rule at the global level and, ultimately, the rule of “no one”. A recent publication in Social and Legal Studies referred to my article as an example of “(p. 343) pivotal work of scholars in international law” alongside the work of Prof. Fleur Johns. See: Marjo Lindroth, “Indigenous Rights as Tactics of Neoliberal Governance: Practices of Expertise in the United Nations”, 23 Social and Legal Studies 3 (2014): 341-360. The latest book by Prof. Jens Bartelsen, Sovereignty as Symbolic Form (Routledge, 2014) cites my article twice (Ch. 3 “Restoring Sovereignty” and Ch. 4 “Reinventing Outsides”). The article is cited by Tanja Aalberts and Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen in “Sovereignty at Sea: The Law and Politics of Saving Lives in mare liberum”: 17 Journal of International Relations and Development 4 (2014): 439-468. Finally, a March 2012 ed. of the E-International Relations: The World’s Leading Website for Students and Scholars of International Relations cited the article in its literature review “A Critical Introduction to the ‘Legalization of World Politics’”(
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-52
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Journal of International Relations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012


  • Global Governance, global institutions, liberalism, power, rule of law


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