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Political Theology and International Law

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Political Theology and International Law offers an account of the intellectual debates surrounding the term “political theology” in academic literature concerning international law. Beneath these differences is a shared tradition, or genre, within the literature that reinforces particular styles of characterising and engaging predicaments in global politics. The text develops an argument toward another way of thinking about what political theology might offer international law scholarship – a politics of truth.

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The article investigates the possibility of applying political theology as a specifi methodological approach to international law. As the key theses of political theology were originally formulated by C. Schmitt in the context of national law acting in a homogeneous environment, political theology discourse in the modern philosophy of international law is mainly related to the universalist projects of global law based on an analogy with national law. The fist of such strategies, the expansionist strategy, presupposes the construction of global order by the world hegemon. The second, the cosmopolitan strategy, assumes that international law can be built on the basis of an ongoing process of discussion of the global order foundations by the widest possible range of actors. Both of these strategies charm “eternal peace” and are nourished by a common messianic spirit and, therefore, are utopian. However, Schmitt’s international law legacy offrs an atypical non-universalist and anti-messianic view on international law as a heterogeneous global legal order based on spatial concepts. Despite the fact that the application of political theology to this kind of order is diffilt, it shall not be excluded for several reasons. The pluralistic structure of the heterogeneous order can be seen as a katechon that holds back the end of history. Finally, the political theology of international law can be applied to analyze the historical transformations of the international legal order
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