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The TWAIL Discourse: The Emergence of a New Phase

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One of the most important discourses to have emerged in opposition to mainstream international law has been the third world approaches to international law (TWAIL). This discourse may be divided into two historical phases: TWAIL I and TWAIL II. While TWAIL I was characterised by a focus on colonisation and the hegemonic use of international law by powerful nations, TWAIL II has concentrated on international institutions and the impact of globalisation. It is posited that the TWAIL discourse is in the process of entering into a new phase post 9/11. This phase can be understood as one in which TWAIL scholarship must respond to a series of new challenges in a world where terrorism is a serious concern. Such a response shares many common characteristics with TWAIL I and will involve a focus on the inconsistent and untenable use of international law by certain nations. Yet the scholarship in this phase must also draw greatly from TWAIL II. The challenges and responsibilities that TWAIL scholars face during this phase are far greater than those experienced during the first two phases of this discourse. For this crucial approach that enables us to rethink our understanding of international law, this phase will mark one of its most important periods.

Affiliations: 1: National Law School of India University, Bangalore


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