Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


International Studies

First Advisor's Name

Francois Debrix

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Harry Gould

Third Advisor's Name

Mohiaddin Mesbahi

Fourth Advisor's Name

Patricia Price

Date of Defense



The aim of the thesis is to develop a critique of current liberal conceptualizations of international order. In order to conduct this critique, this thesis revisits the arguments first put forth by the German legal and political theorist Carl Schmitt. Schmitt conceptualizes a tripartite unity between law, order, and place. This unity, established at the constituent moment of land-appropriation, forms a concrete nomos, which subsequently creates the contours of the legal and political order. The establishment of the concrete order is necessarily the construction of a territorial boundary that designates an inside and an outside of the polity. By speaking of a nomos of the earth, Schmitt globalized this understanding of concrete order by looking at the various historical developments that created a "line" between the concrete applicability of interstate norms and a region where the exceptional situation prevails. The critique presented in this thesis is concerned with the lack of concrete boundary conditions within the current international legal order. It is argued that this lack of a well-defined boundary condition is what results in extreme forms of violence that were traditionally bracketed.




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