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Wouter Werner

Feb 22, 2022

Repetition and International Law

Cambridge University Press 2022

Acts of repetition abound in international law. Security Council Resolutions typically start by recalling, recollecting, recognising or reaffirming previous resolutions. Expert committees present restatements of international law. Students and staff extensively rehearse fictitious cases in presentations for moot court competitions. Customary law exists by virtue of repeated behaviour and restatements about the existence of rules. When sources of international law are deployed, historically contingent events are turned into manifestations of pre-given and repeatable categories.

In Repetition and International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2022), Dr. Wouter Werner studies the workings of repetition across six discourses and practices in international law. It links acts of repetition to similar practices in religion, theatre, film and commerce. Building on the dialectics of repetition as set out by Søren Kierkegaard, the book examines how repetition in international law is used to connect concrete practices to something that is bound to remain absent, unspeakable or unimaginable.

This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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Miranda Melcher

Miranda Melcher (Ph.D., Defense Studies, Kings College, London) studies post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with deep analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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