New Geographies of Governance: Transnational Law and Political Space in the Making

Global governance and transnational legal practice does not only exceed ‘state space’ but collaborates in the very production of the space it pretends to regulate. Thus understood, transnational space is not only a surface for global governance but also its effect. Space is produced by way of its regulation. This project raises the question for the spatiality of transnational law and focusses on the role that legal technique plays in the production of transnational space. The project thus seeks to contribute to the ‘spatial turns’ in two disciplinary fields—International Relations (IR) and Law and Society Studies (LSS)—and argues that these as yet ‘disconnected’ turns are to be interlinked. Only by way of this interdisciplinary research strategy, it becomes possible to better understand the critical relation between the conceptual elements of politics, law, and space. To this end, the project aims at a theory of transnational law’s politics of space. In taking inspiration in the work of Henri Lefebvre, space is assumed to be political for being a ‘social product.’ In this respect, the social process of producing space amounts to a political process characterized by a variety of partly conflictive practices—a ‘politics of space.’ Transnational legal practice is assumed to collaborate in this politics of space. In this respect, transnational law provides the project’s point of observation since it is in transnational legal practice that the three core elements politics, law, and space are interrelated on a regular basis. It will be asked: How is transnational space constructed by different actors and for different purposes? What types of geographical knowledge are at work in transnational law and legal practice? And what consequences does this have for the transformation (or preservation) of our contemporary ‘global’ order?

Keywords Transnational law, human rights, geography, territory, litigation, global governance, law and society studies, politics of law

Related Publications

Philip Liste (2016) Colliding geographies: space at work in global governance. Journal of International Relations and Development 19: 2 (special issue on Fragmented Territoriality, ed. by Katja Freistein and Philip Liste), 199-221.

Philip Liste (2016) Geographical Knowledge at Work: Human Rights Litigation and Transnational Territoriality, European Journal of International Relations 22: 1, 217-239.

Philip Liste (2014) Transnational Human Rights Litigation and Territorialized Knowledge: Kiobel and the ‘Politics of Space’, Transnational Legal Theory 5: 1, 1-19.