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Democratic Governance and International Law: 25 Years Later

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The University of Manchester

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M13 9PL

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In the second half of the 20th century, discourses about the requirement for States to comply with standards of democratic governance have acquired prominence in international thought and practice. Such discourses came to be nurtured by a dramatic wave of writings in the 1990s and 2000s. It is commonly said that such a turn in international legal scholarship was triggered by, inter alia, the 1992 seminal article The Emerging Right to Democratic Governance of Thomas Franck in the American Journal of International Law. The scholars concerned argued that the legitimacy of governments would increasingly be evaluated through democratic standards. They also advocated that the democratic character of the government is determinative of the effects of some key international legal rules.

Twenty-five years after the burgeoning in international legal thought and practice of discourses centred on democratic governance, the time has come to re-evaluate the debates, both in legal practice and legal scholarship, about the places, roles, agendas, successes, failures of democratic governance. This is why the Manchester International Law Centre (MILC) is organising a workshop dedicated to the question with a view to revisiting the state of the practice and debates about democratic governance in international law twenty-five years after this narrative gained grounds in international legal scholarship. The workshop aims to foster the debate about current problems surrounding the theory of democratic governance. The workshop will take a critical look at international legal discourses and practice pertaining to democratic governance, including the practice of the European Union. The workshop simultaneously aims at promoting interdisciplinary discussions. Confirmed keynote speakers include Catherine Dupré (University of Exeter), Steven Wheatley (University of Lancaster), Russell Buchan (University of Sheffield), and the Workshop will conclude with a presentation by Brad Roth (Wayne State University).

MILC invites the submission of abstracts from scholars and practitioners interested on the theme as it is described above. Contributions can be of a cross-cutting character but can also focus on some of the specific sub-themes:

  • discourses and narratives of democratic governance in international legal scholarship

  • democratic governance theory as a myth or a hegemonic and neo-imperialistic discourse

  • the rise of illiberalism vs. international and European Union law

  • interrelations between the principle of effectiveness and the principle of democratic legitimacy

  • democratic deficits of international organisations as regulators of democratic governance

  • the convergence/divergence of international organisations in their reaction to undemocratic changes of government

  • sanctions imposed on states due to undemocratic practices

  • enforcement of democratic measures and the question of the fragmentation of international law on democratic governance

  • the role of democracy in the recognition of states and governments

  • election monitoring mechanisms of international organisations

  • the approach of human rights courts to the right to free and fair elections

  • non-democratic states and the rule of law

  • democratic governance and its relationship with customary international law


Contributions adopting new theoretical perspectives to the topic, using inter-disciplinary methods and drawing on contemporary developments are especially welcome. Early career researchers (i.e. engaged in PhD research or within five years after the award of their PhD) are encouraged to apply.

Abstracts of no more than 1000 words can be submitted through email to milc@manchester.ac.uk by 15th August 2017. The subject line of the email must read “MILC Workshop – Democratic Governance” followed by the surname of the author and a short title of their paper. In the text of the email, authors must identify themselves and provide their affiliation as well as provide a small biography of 200 words in a narrative form. Successful applicants will be notified by 15th September 2017. The deadline for submission of full papers of no more than 8,000 words is 20th October 2017.

Unfortunately, MILC is unable to offer any financial support and speakers will have to bear their own expenses. The organisers anticipate that selected papers will be published in a new volume of the newly established Melland Schill Guidebooks on International Law.

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The University of Manchester

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Manchester

M13 9PL

United Kingdom

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