Thinking about what international humanitarian lawyers "do" : an examination of the laws of war as a field of professional practice
The law of international lawyers : reading Martti Koskenniemi
Cambridge [etc.] : Cambridge University Press, 2017
Bibliographie : p. 294-296
This chapter seeks to "sociologize" Martti Koskenniemi's "From Apology to Utopia" to understand it less as a theoretical critique of law's indeterminacy and more as a description of the "common sense" of international lawyers, constantly called upon to navigate apology and utopia. It does so by invoking Bourdieusian "field analysis" and looking in particular at the laws of war as a semi-autonomous field of socio-legal practice within international law. It looks at the emergence of that field at the intersection of law, humanitarianism and military necessity, and explores how the field both constrains and makes possible various argumentative strategies within it that make the most of the tension between apology and utopia. It seeks to examine the "navigation" of the field from the point of view of individual participants within it seeking to maximize their relative position as part of ongoing struggles for domination but who can ultimately never do so in a way that would undermine the field's claim to relevance. In the conclusion some of the implications are drawn both for our understanding of the "social determinacy" of international law underscored by the resilience of the field, and the inevitable normative circularity and conservatism of the project of the laws of war.