Tuesday, 30 December 2008

By Way of Introduction

Things should begin with logical beginnings, and the logical beginning in this case is an introductory post.

I am a lawyer. I wasn't always by profession, and I still am not in the sense that most people probably envisage the word 'lawyer'. I am a legal academic and before that I was a legal translator; I also have the kind of mind (what I would call a legalistic mind) which views, analyses and judges reality according to certain standards - whether logical, ethical, or practical. I'm not much interested in theories or ideologies which attempt to explain the way the world is, except as historical or cultural curiosities. What I'm concerned about is the rules which govern our behaviour - some of them human-constructed, others not.

My academic research is centred around the ways in which culture and law interact, primarily in the field of international law. International law is like a microcosm for the whole of human history: in its evolution we can see, firsthand, how a group of disparate individuals (the 200 or so entities called 'states') molds itself into a society with rules, leaders and a government. However, whereas human societies evolved among groups of individuals of the same culture, with familial or other bonds, international society has and will develop among individuals with different cultural perceptions and traditions. This makes it uniquely interesting and is the reason why my research is centred on it.

The name of this blog is Anti-ideologism. It's a place for me to talk about current events and my academic research on a semi-regular basis, for people who might be interested. It will mostly refer to public international law, that is, international human rights law, the law of armed conflict, international criminal law and international economic law. Its name is a deliberate attempt to divorce my opinions from a political theory of any kind, and indeed I oppose political theories of any kind as pernicious and damaging. The blog should rather be seen as an attempt by a non-aligned person to apply his knowledge of the law to what is happening in the world.