This essay excavates and critiques the image of the critical subject that is presupposed by Koskenniemi in his 'From Apology to Utopia'. Critical international legal thought often invests considerable faith in the potential of the subject; I argue that this may, in some cases, be a misplaced strategy. This argument proceeds in three steps. Part I examines how the various theories and methods of Koskenniemi's text leaves us with no knowledge of the critical subject. Part II demonstrates that his text presupposes into existence a subject is rooted in a Sartrean metaphysic, and explores the nature of this being. Part III then demonstrates how this critical subject is structured by specific contradictions that may disable it from realizing the emancipatory politics of critical thought. More importantly, it attempts to show how this subject may very well embed the prevailing cultural ideology of our time, rather than challenge it. And yet, despite these antinomies and limits, many young scholars still continue to believe in this image of the critical subject. Because this image is held together through myth.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Singh: The Critical Subject
Sahib Singh (Univ. of Cambridge - Law) has posted The Critical Subject (in Martti Koskenniemi and his Critics, W. Werner et al. eds., forthcoming). Here's the abstract: