The paper traces illiberal nationalist challenges to a liberal international order to a (neo)liberal legalism that subjects us to the imperium of managerialist states, international law/institutions and asymmetrical markets that wield privileged, discretionary and unilateral power over still nationally-configured political communities. In subjecting us to the forces of law and reason, they trample over particularistic concerns, precious to the identities of those without mastery of the tools/vernaculars of this empire. Revealing how power shifts beyond constitutional orders that connect to self-governing political communities–a managerialist embedding of markets in the deemed interests of society–shows how to re-establish connections: managing the factual interdependence of legally independent states through multi-level regimes whose institutions are both legal and political, without aspiring to subsume them into hierarchically-configured (state-like) supranational orders.
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