Melbourne Law School - Theses

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    Constitutionalism as Postwar International Law
    Saunders, Anna Joy ( 2020)
    This thesis inquires into the significance of the histories of constitution-making in Germany and Japan for international practices of constitution-making after conflict, and for the discipline of international law. It argues that, in offering constitutionalism as a solution to the problems of civil war and conflict in the decolonised world, contemporary scholarship on international law and constitution-making draws on a tradition that was developed during the post-World War II era in relation to the occupations of Germany and Japan. That tradition represents a rejection of material accounts of the causes of war and imperial aggression, and more radical visions of economic redistribution and political self-determination. In invoking these histories, international legal scholars reproduce an understanding of constitutional forms as an object of legal analysis and of technical reproduction, distinct from broader economic and political choices about the government of a society and about the international legal order in which that society exists. By exploring this tradition, this thesis seeks to denaturalise internationally-directed constitutional transformation, paired with economic liberalisation, as a technique for managing the postwar state. The Introduction sets out the paradox of the internationalisation of constitution-making, on the one hand, and the idea of constitutions as a lawful means of governing a public, on the other. It gives an account of the method of inquiring into the way the discipline of international law has sought to invoke the histories of constitution-making in Germany and Japan to resolve this paradox, which I term ‘discipline as method’. Chapter 1 describes the field of international law and constitution-making, and sets out the significance of the histories of constitution-making in Germany and Japan for the discipline of international law. Chapter 2 explores the emergence of a tradition of constitutional thought in international law in the postwar period, articulated in opposition to economic and material accounts of empire, by reference to the work of three lawyers: Quincy Wright, Ernst Fraenkel and Carl Friedrich. Chapter 3 describes the conduct of the Allied occupations of Germany and Japan, reading Allied practices and debates, and the making of constitutions, through competing ideas of the requirements of peace in the aftermath of imperial aggression. The thesis concludes by reflecting on what knowledge of this tradition offers for the discipline of international law.