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Jurisdictional blurring: European trends and their implications for international relations theory

Fong, Bryon (2012) Jurisdictional blurring: European trends and their implications for international relations theory. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis examines contemporary jurisdictional arrangements and how new and shifting forms of them impact the ability to map political and socio-political configurations, including the analytical and disciplinary tools used to examine them, into explicitly defined locations. More specifically, it asks how the jurisdictional arrangements found in modern Europe affect mainstream International Relation’s core enabling conditions – most critically, that an international realm exists, that it is jurisdictionally different and clearly separable from domestic realms, and that it therefore requires its own conceptualization. The thesis contends that IR’s ability to assume those things rests on a particular resolution to a “jurisdictional problematique” – on a specific answer to a “Who decides what, where, how, and over whom” question. While that resolution normally comes in a sovereignty-based form, sovereignty is determined to be merely one possible resolution and therefore simply one jurisdictional type. In that regard, the thesis challenges IR’s answer based on a thick examination of the European Union’s (EU) political structures (e.g. its institutional rules, programs, policies, and the like) as well as its socio-political relationships (e.g. European citizenship). It considers four potential changes, and therein four jurisdictional possibilities in their own right – breakdown, maintenance, stratification, and blurring. The thesis determines that blurring best captures the complexities, variability, and the potentially conflicting and overlapping arrangements constitutive of Europe’s jurisdictional environment. It also demonstrates that blurring is a distinct, jurisdictional alternative to sovereignty – a complex, process-based, but nonetheless operationalizable answer to the “Who decides what, where, how, and over whom” question. Those European findings are then placed into a wider perspective to illustrate global, jurisdictional variability. The thesis concludes by developing what blurring specifically and jurisdictional variability more generally entail for how one descriptively, analytically, and disciplinarily approaches modern political and socio-political life and thought. It determines that the question based, empirically sensitive foundations underpinning jurisdiction offer better ways to approach those issues than those typically used by IR – ways that better bring together theory and practice, that offer more appropriate and useful analytical procedures, and that help rethink disciplinary divisions in more sensible and efficacious ways.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Bryon Fong
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > European Institute
Supervisor: White, Jonathan and Jackson-Preece, Jennifer

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