Beyond Boundary Disputes and Basic Grids: Mapping the Global disorder of Normative Orders

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The recent proliferation of transnational forms of legal regulation and recognition has transformed the way we understand the global legal configuration, both in quantitative and in qualitative terms. Quantitatively, so dense are the connections and so significant the overlaps between legal orders that they can no longer easily be compartmentalized — still less marginalized — as mere boundary disputes. Qualitatively, the underlying basic grid, or “order of orders,” through which we make sense of such connections and overlaps, is no longer well understood in traditional Westphalian terms — as the accommodation of mutually exclusive state sovereignties within a largely facilitative framework of international law. Rather, there is an emerging “disorder of orders,” with traditional state sovereigntist, unipolar, global-hierarchy, regional, legal-field discursive (including global versions of both “constitutional” and “administrative” law), coherentist, and pluralist grids of understanding of the relationship between normative orders vying with one another, but with none gaining ascendancy. The future of the global legal configuration is likely to involve more of the same. It is likely we will not witness the re-establishment of a new dominant order of orders but, instead, will depend on the terms of accommodation reached among these competing models and among the actors — popular, judicial, and symbolic — who are influential in developing them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-96
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Constitutional Law
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


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