“The World Bank’s Lawyers. The Life of International Law as Institutional Practice” – a talk with Dimitri Van Den Meerssche
We are delighted to invite you to our next GCILS event on Friday 24 March 2023, 3.00pm UK time.
We will welcome our guest speaker, Dr Dimitri Van Den Meerssche, a Lecturer in Law and Fellow of the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (IHSS) at Queen Mary University of London, to talk about his book, The World Bank’s Lawyers. The Life of International Law as Institutional Practice.
The talk will be held in an in-person-only format and will take place on Friday 24 March, at 3.00pm in the Stair Building: Room 330 – The W M Gloag Lecture Room, 5-9 Professors’ Square.
Following the talk, there will be a Q&A session with our audience.
To attend, please register via Eventbrite here.
Dr Dimitri Van Den Meerssche is a Lecturer in Law and Fellow of the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (IHSS) at Queen Mary University of London. Dimitri’s current research studies the impact of new digital technologies on global security governance, with a focus on counterterrorism and border control. He is interested in the forms of inequality and exclusion enacted by practices of algorithmic governance, and how these practices impact political subjectivity and the prospects of collective action. This work is inspired by critical security studies, feminist technoscience, infrastructure and design theory, and critical black studies.
“The World Bank’s Lawyers provides an original socio-legal account of the evolving institutional life of international law. Informed by oral archives, months of participant observation, interviews, legal memoranda, and documents obtained through freedom-of-information requests, it tells a previously untold story of the World Bank’s legal department between 1983 and 2016. Inspired by actor-network theory, relational sociologies of association, and performativity theory, this ethnographic exploration multiplies the matters of concern in our study of international law (and lawyering): the human and non-human, material and semantic, visible and evasive actants that tie together the fragile fabric of legality.
In tracing these threads, this book signals important changes in the conceptual repertoire and materiality of international legal practice, as liberal ideals were gradually displaced by managerial modes of evaluation. It reveals a world teeming with life—a space where professional postures and prototypes, aesthetic styles, and technical routines are woven together in law’s shifting mode of existence. This history of international law as a contingent cultural technique enriches our understanding of the discipline’s disenchantment and the displacement of its traditional tropes by unexpected and unruly actors. It thereby inspires new ways of critical thinking about international law’s political pathways, promises, and pathologies, as its language is inscribed in ever-evolving rationalities of rule”.