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Recall it again, Sam. Practices of Repetition in the Security Council

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Security Council resolutions seldom only appear only once. More often than not, they are recalled, reiterated, recognised, re-emphasised or reaffirmed in subsequent resolutions. In this article, I study some of the effects of such acts of repetition. Based on an analysis of acts of repetition in films and novels, I argue that acts of repetition are related to (a) the problem of origins, (b) the problem of authorship/authority and (c) the problem of continuity and change. Through acts of repetition, resolutions can claim that they had already begun before they were enacted, that there was something “before the beginning”. Moreover, acts of repetition help securing the continuity of the author (authority) of resolutions. Finally, acts of repetition make it possible to confirm and at the same time adapt earlier statements or rules of law.

Affiliations: 1: Professor of international law, Centre for the Politics of Transnational Law, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands,


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