LIMITS TO RECONCEPTUALIZATION: A THEORETICAL ASSESSMENT OF E. TENDAYI ACHIUME’S MIGRATION AS DECOLONIZATION
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, NL
Bent Bos is a student European and International Law (LLM) and Philosophy of Law and Governance (MA) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The article is an adaptation of his thesis in fulfilment of the master European and International Law.
This article contains a theoretical analysis of E. Tendayi Achiume’s article Migration as Decolonization (2019). The thesis of migration as decolonization is assessed through the concept of the indeterminacy of international law – established by CLS-scholars like Martti Koskenniemi and David Kennedy. In Migration as Decolonization (2019) Achiume pleads for a reconceptualization of nation-state sovereignty and self-determination by expanding the demos – i.e., political community – beyond its territorial borders to include the subordinated Third World citizens. By doing so Achiume aims to do justice to the subordinated Third World person. While indeterminacy on the one hand fuels Achiume’s plea to reconceptualization, it is also exactly that which confines the argument to its constraints. Reconceptualization within international law necessitates the awareness of false contingency as a component of the law’s indeterminacy. That international law is fundamentally indeterminate does not entail that things just happen to be as they are, as if they were fully contingent – random or arbitrary. The argument of migration as decolonization will therefore be used to exemplify the boundaries of international law’s indeterminacy.