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Hans Lindahl

Law School
University of Tilburg
  • 2015 First Semester
  • 2017 First Semester

Involved in these STIAS projects

The terms “globe” and “world” are used interchangeably in the contemporary discussion about legal globalizations. So, for example, the WTO’s webpage dedicated to explaining what the organization is about kicks off as follows: ‘The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations’. There is nothing wrong with this, linguistically speaking; we commonly view and use these terms as synonymous: global law and world law mean the same thing, even though, in English, the former expression has obtained broad currency, whereas the latter hasn’t. The problems begin when globe and world are used in a way that suggests that global legal orders such as the WTO have no outside, an illusion that massive contestation of the WTO has dispelled. No less importantly, contestation of the WTO rallies to the call “another world is possible.” This state of affairs points to a fundamental category distinction introduced by phenomenological philosophy: the globe is a very large thing; a world is not a thing: it is a plexus of meaning relations that manifests itself as such from a first-person perspective, both singular and plural. My contribution to the STIAS project is to write and present a paper that offers the contours of a phenomenology of legal order that adumbrates the nature of the relation between law and world and considers, in a tentative fashion, how this relation impinges on the concept of legal authority in a global context.

This project forms part of the STIAS long-term project Boundaries and Legal Authority in a Global context within the Crossing Borders research theme.

One of the key tasks of my stay at STIAS will be to work on a project that addresses the normative and institutional basis of what Hannah Arendt calls “the right to have rights”. The fact that struggles around border politics are increasing, and many countries are establishing new institutions and administrative procedures by which to cope with pressures from migration on their democracies and welfare systems indicates that appeals to the right to have rights are not going to vanish in any time soon. At the same time, critics contend that the right is insufficient to achieve successful integration. It is either over-inclusive (non-citizens such as temporary migrant workers need social rights, not a right to citizenship), or under-inclusive (citizenship should not be a right, but a mandatory obligation for all non-citizens). In this project I seek to show that these critics have misunderstood the normative and institutional status of the right to have rights. Contrary to what is assumed, it offers valuable resources for thinking the shift from migration to integration in a new key.

This project forms part of the STIAS long-term project Boundaries and Legal Authority in a Global context within the Crossing Borders research theme.




How does a transformation of the boundaries of statehood contribute to recovering the public and political nature of human rights law beyond the international legal order of territorial states? This question, the object of an international colloquium, is explored along six complementary lines of inquiry: (1) the relationship between international human rights law, state sovereignty and global business operations; (2) a juxtaposition of state-based and victim-based approaches to international human rights protection in relation to global business operations; (3) the relationship between the state-centred conception of international human rights law and the protection of global public goods; (4) global human rights law in the area of tension between state-based politics and globalising economies; (5) the intersections between global human rights protection and public and private international law; (6) the ramifications of the privatisation and trans-nationalisation of human rights law for the international legal order of states.


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Related publications

Book/Book Chapter

Hans Lindahl. 2013. Fault Lines of Globalization: Legal Order and the Politics of A-Legality. Oxford University Press, 286 + xii pp) ISBN 978-0-19-960168-4.

Journal Article

Lindahl, Hans. 2016. One Pillar: Legal Authority and a Social License to Operate in a Global Context. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 23(1).

Journal Article

Augenstein, Daniel and Hans Lindahl. 2016. Introduction: Global Human Rights Law and the Boundaries of Statehood. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 23(1).


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