Fragmentation in International Law and Global Governance : A Conceptual Inquiry
Pankakoski, T., & Vihma, A. (2017). Fragmentation in International Law and Global Governance : A Conceptual Inquiry. Contributions to the History of Concepts, 12 (1), 22-48. doi:10.3167/choc.2017.120103
Published inContributions to the History of Concepts
© Berghahn Books, 2017. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by Berghahn Books. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
This article examines the concept and metaphor of fragmentation and its underlying assumptions in international law and global governance. After engaging with fragmentation historically, we analyze current debates through five conceptual perspectives. Fragmentation is often perceived as a process, a gradation, a process with a single direction, a prognosis, and normatively as either loss or liberation. These interlinked tendencies carry conceptual implications, such as making fragmentation apparently inevitable or provoking positive revaluations of fragmentation in terms of differentiation. Furthermore, the conceptual coupling of fragmentation with modernity enhances these effects with an historical thesis. Consequently, fragmentation appears as a ubiquitous and necessary, rather than contingent, feature of modern law—a conceptual implication that may hinder empirical work, and that merits critical analysis.