Restless beyond statehood : rethinking the role of recognition vis-á-vis the constitution of subjects under international law

Ertürk, Erdem (2018) Restless beyond statehood : rethinking the role of recognition vis-á-vis the constitution of subjects under international law. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

The central thesis developed here is that recognition is imperative for the constitution of subjects under international law. The thesis addresses the failure of the prevalent theories of recognition of states to account for the relational element of coming-into-being of international subjects. I identify the notion of absolute sovereignty, the idea that states can entirely be independent from their external relations, as the underlying cause of this failure. The outcome is that, the constitutive theorists limit their perception of recognition to an act of sovereign consent and the declarative theorists assume that states can individually acquire international personality on an ipso facto basis. I employ Hegel’s theory of recognition to demonstrate that free and independent subjects come into being through mutual recognition, that the unity of independent selfconsciousnesses “in their opposition, enjoy perfect freedom and independence: ‘I’ that is ‘We’ and ‘We’ that is ‘I’.” States cannot be purely absolute entities which are independent of any relations to the external world. By applying Hegel’s notion of self-consciousness to the concept of statehood, we can begin to understand that the source of states’ freedom and independence is the unity of states in their opposition, that the sovereignty of each state can essentially be maintained within an international community which comprises the aforementioned ‘We’. The thesis, therefore, seeks to depart from the prevalent theories’ restrictive economy of recognition wherein statehood is constantly reproduced as a subject which, in its absoluteness, is complete and closed, is without any relation to its externality. I argue that, through a rereading of Hegel’s theory, one can gain an accurate perception of the international subject — contra the atomistic idea of absolutely sovereign state — as always in flux, constantly determined by one’s relation to its others. Such a perception does not only bring to the fore the constitutively imperative role of recognition but also accounts for the determinative force of dynamic relations under international law.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Law
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2018 17:20
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2018 17:20
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/350

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