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Home and international law

Zeffert, Henrietta (2017) Home and international law. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.vcd6fl5toy9f

Abstract

International lawyers talk about housing but rarely about home. This is surprising when one considers that home is central to everyday life in the world. Home is the navel of our daily journeys and an arbiter of the transitions we make during our life course. The image of ‘home as haven’ conjures a place liberated from fear, emotionally noble and natural, a metaphor for comfort, solidarity and protection. Yet home throughout the world is far from this ideal. Home destruction, forced eviction, displacement, distress sales, dispossession, repossession, unaffordability and homelessness are also emblematic experiences of home. As the desire for home is twinned with increasing anxieties about it arising from the pressures and possibilities of globalisation and its attendant spatial transformations, economic crisis, political realignment and escalating social inequality, the need to ask how the intimate realm of home is linked to the norms, ambitions and contradictions of global phenomena and the international legal regimes that relate to them is extensive. While home is not a well-developed concept in international law, in this thesis I argue that international law is in fact already present at home. Through three studies of home set in different contexts, I illustrate some of the ways that international law gets involved in transformations of home. I suggest that international law’s ‘homemaking’ work can have devastating effects and that these effects are frequently ignored or elided by scholars and lawmakers in the field. Nonetheless, I also argue that the concept of home can be understood as an analytical tool which opens up a terrain of experience – of loss, suffering and struggle but also radical engagement and expanded agency – that is not captured or expressed in international law. Taking a global socio-legal perspective and a critical geographic approach to home, this thesis traces how international law reaches into, takes place in, and gives shape to everyday life in relation to home. While the main aim of the thesis is to draw international law scholars’ attention to home, it also contributes to methodological discussions among international law scholars working at the interface of the local and the global and especially those scholars interested in the everyday life of international law.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2017 Henrietta Zeffert
Library of Congress subject classification: K Law > K Law (General)
Sets: Departments > Law
Supervisor: Marks, Susan and Mulcahy, Linda
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3566

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