Boundary-Work and Dynamics of Exclusion by Law: International Investment Law as a Case Study

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This chapter explores the thesis that a powerful way to sustain inequalities and realize exclusion is through the construction of ideational boundaries. It is argued that doctrinal legal method can function as a means to crystallize boundaries and (re-)produce exclusion. Critical legal scholarship comes to the rescue in identifying dynamics of exclusion. Within the realm of critical approaches to law, critique of ideology and Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) appear particularly illuminating. It is further contended that critical legal scholarship, by means of exposing contradictions and eroding boundaries, can be instrumental in defying exclusion in practice. The regime of International Investment Law (IIL) is taken as a case study to show how boundaries can be (and have been) erected in ways that reproduce relations of domination. IIL is an illustrative case as other legal domains rest on similarly constructed boundaries (eg between the economic and the non-economic). The IIL case also shows how critical legal perspectives, by breaking free of doctrinal legal analysis, can contribute to change, possibly paving the way to transformative change in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Politics of European Legal Research
Subtitle of host publicationBehind the Method
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
ISBN (Print)9781802201185
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2022


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