Concepts for International Law
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Concepts for International Law

Contributions to Disciplinary Thought

Edited by Jean d’Aspremont and Sahib Singh

Concepts shape how we understand and participate in international legal affairs. They are an important site for order, struggle and change. This comprehensive and authoritative volume introduces a large number of concepts that have shaped, at various points in history, international legal practice and thought; intimates at how the many projects of international law have grappled with, and influenced, the world through certain concepts; and introduces new concepts into the discipline.
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Chapter 23: Humanity

Ukri Soirila


Humanity is a complex concept, used for multiple political purposes in both international legal practice and academic literature. In addition to providing a brief historical overview of the uses of ‘humanity’ in international law, this chapter seeks to understand the ways in which the concept is embedded in power relations. The argument put forward is that the concept has been used especially to discipline states, limit their domestic planning and shape them towards a certain model. Contrary to the work of many authors, however, the article does not approach the disciplining of the state as a step towards an emerging global law of humanity, but primarily as a governmental strategy aimed at making the globe governable.

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