Journal Article

Beyond boundary disputes and basic grids: Mapping the global disorder of normative orders

Neil Walker

in International Journal of Constitutional Law

Published on behalf of The New York University School of Law

Volume 6, issue 3-4, pages 373-396
Published in print January 2008 | ISSN: 1474-2640
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1474-2659 | DOI:
Beyond boundary disputes and basic grids: Mapping the global disorder of normative orders

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  • Constitutional and Administrative Law
  • UK Politics


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The recent proliferation of transnational forms of legal regulation and recognition has transformed the way we understand the global legal configuration, both in quantitative and in qualitative terms. Quantitatively, so dense are the connections and so significant the overlaps between legal orders that they can no longer easily be compartmentalized—still less marginalized—as mere boundary disputes. Qualitatively, the underlying basic grid, or “order of orders,” through which we make sense of such connections and overlaps, is no longer well understood in traditional Westphalian terms—as the accommodation of mutually exclusive state sovereignties within a largely facilitative framework of international law. Rather, there is an emerging “disorder of orders,” with traditional state sovereigntist, unipolar, global-hierarchy, regional, legal-field discursive (including global versions of both “constitutional” and “administrative” law), coherentist, and pluralist grids of understanding of the relationship between normative orders vying with one another, but with none gaining ascendancy. The future of the global legal configuration is likely to involve more of the same. It is likely we will not witness the reestablishment of a new dominant order of orders but, instead, will depend on the terms of accommodation reached among these competing models and among the actors— popular, judicial, and symbolic—who are influential in developing them.

Journal Article.  10753 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law ; UK Politics

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