Call for Papers: The Future of the State



Event Date: 


Location name: 

Washington, DC


The International Legal Theory Interest Group of the American Society of International Law

International lawyers and jurists usually take the modern state for granted because international law is grounded on its existence. However, the state’s dominant position in international law, and even its own continuity, might be more fragile and vulnerable than we dare to admit.

The accelerated rate of social and political changes that are occurring, and will continue to occur, will entail significant challenges for the state as political entity. If unable to rise to them, the state might face, in the next decades or centuries, the decline of its leading and dominant position in international law, as well as the appearance of new systems of governance that might compete with it, coexist with it and even, eventually, replace it.

This symposium will provide a forum of discussion around the question of how the accelerated rate of social changes, the dynamics of an irrevocable globalization, international crisis (in a broad sense) and the state’s behaviors and failures are likely to affect the state’s relevance and continuity in the future.

We welcome papers addressing issues related, but not limited, to the following questions:

  • Is the modern state the best we can do for human political organization and governance? In face of the challenges of the 21st century and beyond, is the emergence of new models of governance desirable? Or, on the contrary, does it become even more imperative to save and preserve the modern state?
  • How is the accelerated rate of social changes inciting the appearance of new political theories, as well as making some old libertarian ones more appealing? In face of these changes, will the state’s relevance and continuity require new theoretical frameworks? Or, on the contrary, will it become even more necessary to reinforce the existing ones?
  • Are the state’s actions and failures, both individually and through the work of international organizations, likely to contribute to the state’s decline?
  • Does the increasing delegation to the private sector of activities traditionally performed by the states, from basic services to warfare, carry with it long term risks to the state’s continuity?
  • Is International Law an obstacle to the appearance of new forms of political organization and governance?
  • What can we learn from the history and demise of governance systems that preceded the modern state?
  • What could, or should, states do in order to maintain their relevance and legitimately prolong their existence for the next centuries?


Those interested in participating in the symposium should send an abstract (length of their choice) and a description of their institutional affiliation to Elizabeth Rodríguez-Santiago at, (please copy both addresses).

The deadline for the submission of abstracts is October 22, 2016. Abstracts will be peer reviewed and decisions will be notified no later than October 27, 2016. The deadline for the submission of the papers drafts, for purposes of publication, will be March 1, 2017.

For those selected, all lodging and meals will be provided. It will be the presenter’s responsibility to arrange for travel to and from Washington DC.

From Internatinal Law Reporter