Decolonising International Law

Decolonising International Law : Development, Economic Growth and the Politics of Universality

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The universal promise of contemporary international law has long inspired countries of the Global South to use it as an important field of contestation over global inequality. Taking three central examples, Sundhya Pahuja argues that this promise has been subsumed within a universal claim for a particular way of life by the idea of 'development'. As the horizon of the promised transformation and concomitant equality has receded ever further, international law has legitimised an ever-increasing sphere of intervention in the Third World. The post-war wave of decolonisation ended in the creation of the developmental nation-state, the claim to permanent sovereignty over natural resources in the 1950s and 1960s was transformed into the protection of foreign investors, and the promotion of the rule of international law in the early 1990s has brought about the rise of the rule of law as a development strategy in the present day.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 320 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 113915365X
  • 9781139153652

Review quote

'This important and timely book is thoroughly researched, methodically written, and both instructive and convincing.' Muin Boase and Mansur Boase, European Journal of International Law 'This book is a critical, thought-provoking and well-written account of how the post-Second World War international law and institutions have been used by the West (an imagined community itself) to construct and impose a new rational truth based on particular values, norms and socio-political organisations that were defined as universal ... The core part of the book is a very lucid analysis of three cases in which relevant concepts and processes defended by the Third World with a potentially destabilizing nature, in the end were captured by the West and turned into instruments at its service rather than as catalysers of change.' Felipe Gomez Isa, Peacebuilding
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Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. Inaugurating a new rationality; 3. From decolonisation to developmental nation state; 4. From permanent sovereignty to investor protection; 5. From the rule of international law to the internationalisation of the rule of law; 6. Conclusion.
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About Sundhya Pahuja

Sundhya Pahuja is the Director of the Law and Development Research Programme at the Institute for International Law and the Humanities at the University of Melbourne and Visiting Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London.
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