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Transnational Law as Drama

March 2020

Featured in The Many Lives of Transnational Law: Critical Engagements with Jessup’s Bold Proposals (Cambridge University Press)

In keeping with Jessup’s project of constructively contesting legal doctrinal understandings of law, this chapter analyses the Situation Room Photograph to illustrate transnational law as drama. The metaphor of law as drama inheres in Jessup’s text. Yoking Jessup’s turn to drama with anthropologist Victor Turner’s notion of social drama, this chapter shows how, as a text of transnational law, the Situation Room photograph illuminates the normalizing and legitimizing of the national security state, even as gestures and representations of law associated with liberal democracy thread through the image.