The Global Turn in Legal Theory

Mikhail Xifaras

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Familiar legal theories are epistemologically and politically stato-centric theories; they aim to rationalize intra-and inter-national legal systems. If this Westphalian approach were to be abandoned, then its replacement might be called Global Law, which invites theorizing that is not stato-centric. When that change happens, one would talk about a Global Turn in legal theory. Describing this turn is the aim of the paper. This description is articulated around two ideas about the history and geography of the globalizing of Law, and three intuitions about the fate of legal theory itself once this Global Turn is taken. Namely, how theorizing Law from this perspective leads to focus on what is emerging and circulating, how the aesthetics of legal thinking shifts towards perspectivism and dissociation, and how more pluralistic, eclectic and pragmatic modes of reasoning and arguing about Law become dominant. What follows is neither a substantial or positivistic analysis, nor a prediction or a wish, but an attempt to point out tendencies which might be essential features of contemporary legal thinking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-243
Number of pages29
JournalCanadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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