For over a decade we have heard regular assurances that the time is ripe for a sustained anthropology of international law – and that this debate forms a natural alliance between (critical) international lawyers and anthropologists. Yet we seem to be getting nowhere with the actual project, namely a sustained and vibrant inter-disciplinary debate marked by a rich co-creation of theorizations and recurring exchanges of concepts. The aim of this review essay, anchored on Luis Eslava’s new book Local Space, Global Law: the Everyday Operation of International Law and Development, is to map out potential entry points for such a conversation, with the hope of inspiring a lasting shared debate. The review addresses, in particular, the changed notion of ‘the law’ via the continued proliferation of different normative international arrangements, proposing that our current scholarly descriptions on both sides of this disciplinary equation fall short in accounting for its full complexity. While at times the review may appear critical of Eslava’s work, the tenor, rather than pointing explicitly to any shortcomings of his analysis, intends to highlight the difficulty of genuine cutting-edge, inter-disciplinary work – thus emphasizing our need for collaboration.
Fields of Science
- 513 Law