Empire, emergency & the law
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This thesis interrogates the nature of emergency legal doctrine -- from the institutional and constitutional planes of international relations, national security and political economy, down to more mundane planes of daily existence -- with particular reference to colonial legal history. Engaging with the methods and theories of postcolonial critique and Third World Approaches to International Law, the thesis argues that the doctrine of emergency has been (and remains) deeply implicated in settler-colonial and related processes of dispossession and exclusion/inclusion. The thesis chronicles the precedents of concerted emergency rule under European colonialism, and maps out a genealogy of emergency law in this context. This serves to illuminate the historical myopia of those narratives of a novel and unprecedented situation that have permeated post-2001 discourse on the state of emergency, whereby issues of race and colonial history are often absent or obscured. Drawing on archival research and analysis of the drafting records of international human rights treaties, the thesis demonstrates that colonial legal traditions have underpinned the formation of contemporary norms (domestic and international), practice and jurisprudence relating to state security and socio-economic crisis. This implies questions that speak not just to the application of (or derogation from) a rule of law, but to the nature of law itself.