Two Contributions to the Verfassungsblog published in a New Book

Blog_BookTwo of my contributions to the Verfassungsblog have been published in: Steinbeis, Maximilian, Alexandra Kemmerer, Christoph Möllers, Eds. (2015) Krise und Konstitutionalisierung. Verfassungsblog I. Baden-Baden: Nomos.

Liste, Philip. Experten unter sich: Warum die Regierung findet, dass die Snowden-Affäre uns nichts angeht.

Liste, Philip. The Politics of Space: Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum.

New Publication in European Journal of International Relations

EJIR_coverMy paper on “Geographical Knowledge at Work: Human Rights Litigation and Transnational Territoriality” is now available (online first) at the European Journal of International Relations. Please click here.

Abstract: In April 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court has left a mark on the spatiality of law. In a decision on human rights violations in Nigeria, state territoriality served as a technique to rule out the application of transnational law against private corporations. Paradoxically, the private actor turned out being the primary beneficiary of this jurisdictional territorialism. Drawing on work in critical geography, the article argues that this was only possible against the background of a certain geographical knowledge as reproduced in the course of legal practice. The corporate production of space consisted in a “private use of territoriality” to resist the extraterritorial application of law and thus transnational state regulation. During a spatial analysis of a number of the 82 amicus curiae briefs to “Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum,” the article reveals how the geographical configurations of our contemporary order do not only withstand transnational challenges but are even reproduced transnationally by a multiplicity of state and non-state actors. While international law builds upon and reproduces territoriality as a foundational principle of global normativity, it also provides the means for the doing away with territoriality. In order to demonstrate how legal practice contributes to a critical reproduction of normativity on different scales (national and international, local and global), the article establishes a spatial gaze on transnational relations at work.

Keywords: Alien Tort, Kiobel, territory, space, transnational relations, international law, human rights, transnational corporations, courts

Annelise Riles to talk at CGG Lecture Series (Hamburg), Dec 17

CGG Lecture SRileseries: Contestation, Knowledge, Practice: Contributions to the Debate in Global Governance, Constitutionalism and World Society

Mi. 17. Dezember 2014, 18:00 c.t. Uhr
ESA-1, Hörsaal C, Edmund-Siemers-Allee-1

New Approaches to International Financial Regulation:
What Legal Scholars and Policymakers Can Learn from
Critical and Anthropological Studies of Knowledge,
Contestation and Practice

Professor Annelise Riles, Cornell University Law School, USA

What has happened to scholarship on international financial regulation since the global financial crisis? This paper maps out core debates suggestive of the new intellectual terrain that emerged out of the global financial meltdown. I argue that the old-consensus in neoclassical economic theory has given way to a new mainstream institutionalist legal literature, which I term the Reformist approach. This post-crisis shift of focus parallels developments in the fields of international political economy, and law and development. I argue that this Reformist literature could benefit from further engagement with what I term the “New Approaches” literature in international legal theory and in the anthropology and social studies of finance.

Annelise Riles is the Jack G. Clarke Professor of Law in Far East Legal Studies and Professor of Anthropology at Cornell, and she serves as Director of the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture. Her work focuses on the transnational dimensions of laws, markets and culture across the fields of comparative law, conflict of laws, the anthropology of law, public international law and international financial regulation. Her most recent book, Collateral Knowledge: Legal Reasoning in the Global Financial Markets (Chicago Press 2011) is based on ten years of fieldwork among regulators and lawyers in the global derivatives markets. Her recently published article Managing Regulatory Arbitrage: A Conflict of Laws Approach in the Cornell International Law Journal in June 2014 explores what conflict of laws can contribute to global financial regulation.

Christian Bueger to talk at CGG Lecture Series (Hamburg), Dec 10

CGG Lecture Series: Cobuegerntestation, Knowledge, Practice: Contributions to the Debate in Global Governance, Constitutionalism and World Society

Mi. 10. Dezember 2014, 18:00 c.t. Uhr
ESA-1, Hörsaal C

Experimental Governance: Lessons from the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia

Dr. Christian Bueger, Cardiff University, UK


Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been successfully contained. A core role in this success story has been an informal global governance arrangement, the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. This presentation discusses the practices of governance the group has developed to coordinate and steer the fight against piracy. Based on two years of ethnographic observations and a practice theoretical framework, the group is described as a form of “experimental governance”. Drawing on a range of empirical stories, the concept of experimental governance is discussed in detail and a range of lessons for other issue areas sketched out.

Christian Bueger is Reader in International Relations at Cardiff University. He is currently the principal investigator of the research project Counter-Piracy Governance – A Praxiographic Analysis. His research focusses on maritime security, international organization, international practice theory, the sociology of knowledge production and methodology. He is currently co-editor of the Worlding Beyond the West book series (Routledge), and associate editor of the forthcoming European Journal of International Security (Cambridge). His most recent publications include International Practice Theory: New Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan, with Frank Gadinger), and Pathways to Practice: Praxiography and International Politics (European Political Science Review). Further information is available at

Berlin, sagenhaft!

Yesterday, the 10 month as a Rechtskulturen Fellow have come to an end. I really enjoyed the stay in Berlin and the most welcome time of focused work on my transnational litigation project. The seven Rechtskulturen Fellows formed a powerful team, as researchers and friends. In particular, I’d like to thank Alexandra Kemmerer and Lucy Chebout who both did such a wonderful job in providing ideas, infrastructure and spirit for making Rechtskulturen work — even in times of budget cuts and the search for new perspectives.

In Berlin, I felt at home from the very first moment. It’s a great place. After some days of holiday with family and friends I will move back to Hamburg — in hopes of finding some Hamburg summer before this rain starts. Elbstrand, I’m coming!

New article: Kiobel and the Politics of Space

tltThe new issue of Transnational Legal Theory (5:1, 2014) is now online — including my paper on “Transnational Human Rights Litigation and Territorialised Knowledge: Kiobel and the ‘Politics of Space'”.

Abstract: In Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum, Dutch and British private corporations were accused of having aided and abetted the violation of the human rights of individuals in Nigeria. A lawsuit, however, was brought in the United States, relying on the Alien Tort Statute—part of a Judiciary Act from 1789. In its final decision on the case, the US Supreme Court focused strongly on ‘territory’. This use of a spatial category calls for closer scrutiny of how the making of legal arguments presupposes ‘spatial knowledge’, especially in the field of transnational human rights litigation. Space is hardly a neutral category. What is at stake is normativity on a global scale with the domestic courtroom turned into a site of spatial contestation. This paper explores the construction of ‘the transnational’ as space, which implicates a ‘politics of space’ at work underneath the exposed surface of legal argumentation. The ‘Kiobel situation’ is addressed as a case belonging to a broader picture, including the following contested elements of space: a particular spatial condition of modern nation-state territoriality; the production of ‘counter-space’, eventually undermining the spatial regime of inter-state society; and the state not accepting its withering away. How are normative boundaries between the involved jurisdictional spaces drawn? How does the ‘politics of space’ work underneath or beyond the plain moments of judicial decision-making? How territorialised is the legal knowledge at work and how does territoriality work in legal arguments?

New Publication in IJGLS

1-Cover.pdfA new article has just appeared in the current issue of the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies. See Antje Wiener and Philip Liste 2014, Lost Without Translation? Cross-Referencing and a New Global Community of Courts, Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies Vols. 21 #1 (Winter 2014), pp. 263-296.

Abstract: Anne-Marie Slaughter has described the “new world order” as characterized by some “conceptual shifts,” including an increasing cooperation of domestic courts across nation-state boundaries. The cross-jurisdictional referencing of legal norms and decisions, as Slaughter holds, would lead into a “global community of courts.” This article takes issue with that observation. We argue that for such a community to emerge, cross-referencing would need to be followed by an effective transmission of meaning from one (legal) context to another. Following recent insights in the field of International Relations norm research, however, we can expect such meanings to be contested—in particular, when different cultural repertoires operate on either side of the interactive processes. Therefore, a need for translation ensues (i.e., a translation of constitutional norms or concepts from one legal order into another). The conditions of a “global community of courts” are thus not easily met. In this respect, the aim of the article is to put Slaughter’s thesis to an empirical test. To extrapolate the “normative structures of meaning-in-use” the article builds on the analysis of semi-structured interviews with legal practitioners who were involved in the jurisprudence on anti-terrorism measures in two countries, Canada and Germany. During this empirical work, we found a “global community of courts” not yet emerged. Although the concept of community does matter as an explanatory reference for research on legal cross-referencing across national borders, our research suggests that practice of cross-referencing is still more “culturally” fragmented than unified, and normative references are more regionally diverse than globally shared. Moreover, the normative context within which referencing takes place remains strong, so that the meaning of “foreign” concepts is often constructed by means of contestation rather than transferred from one contest into another.

New Book on Discurse Studies in International Relations

9783848703289A new book on Discourse Studies in International Relations (in German) is out now. The volume is edited by Eva Herschinger and Judith Renner and contains my contribution on International Legal Positions: The Discoursive Production of Democratic Foreign Politics (in orig.: Völkerrechtspositionen: Die diskursiven Produktionsbedingungen demokratischer Außenpolitik). More information can be found here.

New Working Paper on “Organizing Fragmented Spatiality”

A new working paper related to the COST Action 1003 is now online here.

Abstract: While the academic discipline of International Law (IL) has been facing an enormous debate on fragmentation and constitutionalization, the traditional assumption of the territorial grounding of international law had been lost out of sight. Either, it seems, international law follows a territorial paradigm of international normative order or it enters a process of constitutionalization and, in so doing, transcends the territoriality upon which it had once been built. While the territorial grounding of international law in the nation-state appears “old-fashioned,” the merging of territoriality within one unitary global constitutional order seems “post-modern” but also somewhat naïve. Complex phenomena of governance like the fragmentation of international law or the proliferation of global administrative agencies, as well as, more concrete scripts of global regulation like newly emerging forms of global health regulation or the “global” development of domestic antitrust laws indicate that this dichotomy is odd. Debates on the fragmentation of international law and global governance widely overlook that governance practice does in fact produce space, that is, collaborates in the very production of the space they claim to regulate.