“Capitalism As Civilisation” offers the first comprehensive history of the standard of civilisation in international law. It draws from Marxism and deconstruction and brings together the textual and the material in our understanding of law. In so doing, it approaches ‘civilisation’ as an argumentative pattern related to the distribution of rights and duties amongst different communities, Tzouvala illustrates both its contradictory nature and its pro-capitalist bias. ‘Civilisation’ is shown to oscillate between two poles: i) a pervasive ‘logic of improvement’ anchors legal equality to demands that non-Western polities undertake extensive domestic reforms and embrace capitalist modernity; and ii) an insistent ‘logic of improvement’ that constantly postpones and engages such a prospect based on ideas of immutable difference. By detailing the tension and synergies between these two logics, Tzouvala argues that international law incorporates and attempts to mediate the contradictions of capitalism as a global system of production and exchange that both homogenises and stratifies societies, populations and space.
Join us in a live discussion of “Capitalism As Civilisation: A History of International Law” with the author, Mattias Kumm (WZB Berlin, Germany/NYU School of Law, USA), Fabia Veçoso (Melbourne Law School, Australia), Diane A. Desierto (Notre Dame Law School, USA) and Tanzil Chowdhury (Queen Mary University of London, UK).
The event is free and open to all but we kindly ask you to register.
We thank Sergio Verdugo, Mariana Velasco Rivera, Michaela Hailbronner and Fred Felix Zaumseil for helping to organise this event.