Foundational Doctrines and Techniques of International Legal Argumentation
Elgar International Law series
Chapter 1: Subjects
This chapter discusses the doctrine of subjects in relation to the state. This part of the doctrine of subject is sometimes called “the law of statehood”. The choice to focus on the law of statehood – rather than on those discourses and practices pertaining to other actors of international law – should not be read as manifesting any state-centricism. This is a debate that is not tackled here but that will re-surface in chapter 3 on law-making. This chapter is solely concerned with those academic projects that have shaped the design and deployment of the law of statehood. The international law of statehood epitomizes the scholarly hunger for doctrinal domestication of the rise and fall of states in the international legal order. Indeed, as it is argued here, the sophisticated constructions behind the international law of statehood have been aptly deployed by a group of professionals seeking to secure a grasp on a subject-matter, that is, state creation. According to the view defended here, the law of statehood is best construed as a delicate elixir which allows international lawyers, not only to make state creation a legal phenomenon worthy of legal investigation, but also to claim control of the volatile phenomenon of births and deaths in the international society. In the pursuit of this project, international lawyers have been guided by the aspiration to control an entire chain of manufacture of international law.