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The Globalization of Law, Legal Transnationalization and the Sovereignty of Empire


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The Globalization of Law, Legal Transnationalization and the Sovereignty of Empire

Room A7-235

This workshop will be presented by Diego Machado, Master’s student in Law at the University of Sherbrooke.

Using the case of Canadian mining in Latin America, this workshop aims to draw the conceptual elements of a critic of the consequences of globalization on law, in particular in the context of the emergence of new actors in the globalization process and in light of the concept of Empire as a sovereignty model. The development of transnational mining is related to the emergence of a new global sovereignty. This global sovereignty is articulated not only in relation to transnational mining companies, but also around a network of public and private actors (national and international) seeking to create the necessary economic, social and cultural conditions in order to promote this type of productive activity.

In the context of globalization, legal systems, both domestic and international as well as their interactions, are under fundamental mutations concerning rules, institutions, actors and practices. The major actors of globalized regulation of international economic activities are transnational companies. They induce transformations in the law of states where they deploy their activities through contractual models they impose to their local co-contractors and through lobbying of public authorities. They are described as largely avoiding national and international regulations.

The notion of Empire refers to the emergence of a new form of global sovereignty that has transformed modern sovereignty. Within the concept of Empire (Hardt and Negri, 2000), a central idea is fundamental for our thesis. Within the current global context, no nation-state, not even the United States, would have the necessary resources to become an imperial state. Imperialism, as a domination mode mobilized exclusively by the nation-state, is not valid in order to understand the global order. The notion of Empire that is of interest in this case implies that this global power is not exercised uniquely from a power of the state. The Empire implies a new form of sovereignty constituted by the most powerful nation-states, international institutions, such as the IMF and the World Bank, and transnational companies. The Empire insists on the fact that power is exercised in networks rather than in a unilateral manner. In other words, within the territory of the nation-state, economic, political and social logics interact top-down and bottom-up, redefining the scope of modern sovereignty. The main characteristic of Empire is to be fundamentally capitalist; it is also to edify itself from the ashes of state sovereignty.