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 47: Progress

Thomas Skouteris


This chapter examines the manner in which the idea of progress is inscribed in arguments about international law. The chapter makes two central points. The first is that the impact of the idea of progress in international law should be measured not only in the context of paradigmatic narratives of progress but also against the pervasiveness of more prosaic uses. The second is that any argument that implicates progress, from the uppercase to the lowercase and back, is theoretical ‘all the way down’. While it may be hard to forsake the idea of progress altogether, the chapter argues that it may be even harder to defend as something other than a tired trope of legitimation.

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