International politics of exception: competing visions of international political order between law and politics

Huysmans, Jef (2006). International politics of exception: competing visions of international political order between law and politics. Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 31(2) pp. 135–165.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/030437540603100202

Abstract

Both political leaders and academics often claim exceptional times. But what does it mean to speak of exceptional politics in international relations? In one sense exceptionality is a descriptive category referring to a radical change in the systemic conditions of international politics. In this article a different notion of exception is examined. It refers to a particular method of conceptualizing the nature of international political order. The exception defines political order by means of constitutional-legal reasoning in which different understandings of the nature and status of international law and its political transgressions describe competing visions of international political order. The focal point of this international politics of exception is not the traditional distinction between liberal and realist views of international politics but the constitutionalist triad of normativism, decisionism, and institutionalism.

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