Epistemic Forces in International Law

Epistemic Forces in International Law

Foundational Doctrines and Techniques of International Legal Argumentation

Elgar International Law series

Jean d’Aspremont

Epistemic Forces in International Law examines the methodological choices of international lawyers through considering theories of statehood, sources, institutions and law-making. From this examination, Jean d'Aspremont presents a discerning insight into the way in which international lawyers shape their arguments to secure validation within the international law community.

Chapter 9: Dissemination

Jean d’Aspremont

Subjects: law - academic, public international law


Opinions, information, and legal arguments about international law cannot be received, taken into account, debated, and eventually validated within the community of international lawyers as long as they have not been disseminated. Dissemination ensures that opinions, information, and legal arguments are received by the addressees who then find themselves in a position to evaluate as well as (in)validate them on the basis of the criteria they have acquired through socialization. These various steps are inherent in the political knowledge-production process in international law. Drawing from Regis Debray’s famous distinction between communication and transmission, the foregoing amounts to saying that dissemination is a material act of a communicative nature that allows the political phenomenon of transmission to take place. This holds for all types of opinions, informations, legal arguments, be they produced by political authorities, judicial bodies, governmental advisers or academics. For all of them, dissemination is essential for their product to be received and (in)validated by the addressees – and possibly the whole community of international lawyers – they seek to convince. In that sense, dissemination encapsulates a variety of techniques that are essential in the social validation process of international legal arguments. It is against the backdrop of the contribution of dissemination to the social validation of legal arguments that a short chapter of this book is devoted to contemporary practices of dissemination. It does not seem contested that dissemination takes place through highly organized communicative networks and routes.

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