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(Transnational) law for the Anthropocene: revisiting Jessup’s move from ‘what?’ to ‘how?’

Mai, Laura. 2020. (Transnational) law for the Anthropocene: revisiting Jessup’s move from ‘what?’ to ‘how?’. Transnational Legal Theory. 11(1-2), 105-120.

Abstract

In the Anthropocene, legal thinking is challenged to re-envision the ‘human’ position vis-à-vis the ‘natural’ ‘environment’. To map this challenge, this paper draws on three theoretical perspectives: social-ecological resilience thinking, social systems theory and post-humanism. The paper then explores how Jessup’s perspective on transnational law could be applied to further develop legal thinking in the Anthropocene. It proposes that legal scholarship and practice would benefit from revisiting Jessup’s move from ‘what?’ to ‘how?’: Rather than thinking about what (transnational) law might, or might not, be, legal researchers and practitioners are now tasked to understand how law can be mobilised as a tool to navigate our relationship with the planet. The paper concludes that Jessup’s practical, progressive and pragmatic approach provides a useful starting point for developing legal forms, strategies and technologies to navigate Anthropocene realities.

 

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