Sovereignty’s sanctimony in ODA – a Jar'Edo Wens or Janus in international law?

Sovereignty wordle image, featured image from Canadian Union of Public Employees blog post

Event details


Date & time

Thursday 19 November 2015


RegNet Meeting Room, Level 3, Coombs Extension, Building #8
ANU Canberra


Siobhán Airey


Emma Larking
+61 (0)2 6125 1513

Siobhán Airey is currently completing her doctorate in law at the University of Ottawa under the supervision of Professor Penelope Simons and a Visiting PhD Scholar at the Centre for International Governance and Justice. For more information view her RegNet profile.

Siobhán’s doctoral research analyses Official Development Assistance (ODA or official aid) as an instrument of global governance. Her presentation will focus on an aspect of the theoretical exploration she has undertaken in her thesis.

She problematises the concept of sovereignty of ODA-recipient states implied in terms such as ‘country ownership’ and ‘development partner’ prominent in ODA discourse.

Through combining insights from Foucault and Carl Schmitt, Siobhán proposes a conceptual framework that reveals and analyses the tensions between the idea of sovereignty implied in these terms and the disciplinary decision-making practices of ODA donors.

She argues that a key function of this ambivalent approach to sovereignty is to legitimise the development project pursued through ODA and to hold in uneasy balance the sometimes competing demands on states to respect, protect and fulfil competing rights contained in different international legal agreements (e.g. trade and human rights).

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