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Essex Public International Law Lecture Series: Professor Martti Koskenniemi - Global Law and the Populist Backlash: how to think about them?
The talk will examine the attacks on global rule by various anti-globalist, neo-nationalist and sometimes far right movements in the developed west. International lawyers are obviously concerned. How should they understand these attacks and respond to them? Many have suggested that the attacks emerge from frustration by those “left behind”. Why is it then that suggestions for reform of international or European institutions do not interest or engage the critics? Is the reaction above all to economic deprivation or liberal cultural hegemony? The talk will suggest that at issue is both a problem with the type of knowledge represented by global institutions as well as the monopolisation of the space left for politics in part by regimes of technical expertise and in part by a morality of rights that expects engaging with institutions that are felt as part of the problem. How is global law – or the idea of a “global law” – involved in these debates? Is it possible to imagine a global law that would not appear as a technocratic instrument for a policy of no alternatives?

Martti Koskenniemi is Professor of International Law at the University of Helsinki and Director of the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights. He was a member of the Finnish diplomatic service (1978-1994) and of the International Law Commission (2002-2006). He has been a Visiting Global Professor of Law at New York University since 1997 and has held visiting professorships at many leading universities. He is member of the Institut de droit international and Fellow of the British Academy. His main publications include From Apology to Utopia; The Structure of International Legal Argument (1989/2005), The Gentle Civilizer of Nations: The Rise and Fall of International Law 1870-1960 (2001) and The Politics of International Law (2011). His history of international legal thought, To the Uttermost Parts of the Earth: Legal Imagination and International Power 1300-1870, is out in 2021.

Mar 1, 2021 06:00 PM in London

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