Re-Situating Utopia Matthew Nicholson argues that international law and international legal theory are dominated by a ‘blueprint’ utopianism that presents international law as the means of achieving a better global future. Contesting the dominance of this blueprintism, Nicholson argues that this approach makes international law into what philosopher Louis Marin describes as a “degenerate utopia” – a fantastical means of trapping thought and practice within contemporary social and political conditions, blocking any possibility that those conditions might be transcended. As an alternative, Nicholson argues for an iconoclastic international legal utopianism – Utopia not as a ‘blueprint’ for a better future, operating within the confines of existing social and political reality, but as a means of seeking to negate and exit from that reality – as the only way to maintain the idea that international law offers a path towards a truly better future.
Matthew Nicholson (Ph.D. 2013, UCL) is Assistant Professor in International Law at Durham Law School, Durham University. His work draws on philosophy, literary theory and history in an effort to develop a theory of international law that is responsive to contemporary realities and injustices.
Table of contents
Re-Situating Utopia Matthew Nicholson
Abstract Keywords Acknowledgements
Introduction: Blueprints and Iconoclasm
Part 1: Iconoclastic Utopianism, or “Exiting the Series”
Part 2: Blueprints
Part 3: Utopia, “Degenerate Utopia,” and Disneyland
Part 4: Towards “World Other”
Researchers, students and practitioners of international law, and anyone interested in the place of law and governance in international relations and global politics.