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Title: Looking beyond the canopy : the influence of international principles, actors and values in evolving forest related law (case study China)
Author: Lesniewska, Feja
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 5840
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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International law is increasingly developing and evolving through dynamic interactions between multiple actors across multiple levels, blurring the boundaries between global and localised processes. Such developments expand international legal research horizons beyond the traditional state-centric and institutional canopy. There is limited agreement amongst legal scholars on the scope, scale and significance decentered processes have on evolving international law. This research's primary objective is to determine the contributions that different international law theories, primarily institutionalism, or socio-legal studies, can bring to improving understanding of the nature and outcomes of these processes. Forests, due to their multi-functionality, are implicated in a broad range of international legal fields so offer an excellent case study for such research. This thesis focuses on two in-situ projects that draw on international law principles to articulate their objectives on conservation and bioenergy. Drawing on socio-legal studies methodologies the research includes fieldwork using qualitative discourse analysis of primary and secondary materials collected to identify the dynamics at play between international principles, actors and values involved in each case study. However the research places the projects within the traditional canopy of international forest-related law narrative in order to identify the linkages between ongoing developments within multilateral agreements. China with the historical, philosophical, economic and political stature it wields as a case study at a time when the geo-political order is changing. The actors are Chinese, foreign and international. The research reveals the importance that context plays in how principles are interpreted by actors. It finds that actors employ certain international principles and values discourse when necessary. It demonstrates how some partnerships, at all levels, between knowledge-based power and political authority, marginalise other actors' participation in forest lawmaking processes. This perpetuates certain values, to the exclusion of others, resulting in distortions of the principle concepts to their detriment. Negotiating the legitimacy of outcomes appears to be dependent on the will of those who already have authority. The research conclusions demonstrate that different approaches by international law scholarship provide important tools with which to dissect and understand the multilevel law-making processes taking place globally. This conclusion will benefit future research, especially in international forest related law.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral