This blog is a part of the research project ‘Law, War and the State of the American Exception‘, headed by Jason Ralph (Reader in International Relations at the University of Leeds’ School of Politics and International Studies) and sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council. While Ralph is an IR scholar, the project benefits from the assistance of Dominika Švarc, a researcher trained in the area of International Law.

The project’s starting point is the idea that 9/11 ushered in a Schmittian ’state of exception’, where the normal rules of international society were necessarily suspended in order to achieve international security. In the post-9/11 state of exception, the ‘war on terror’ is understood as a ‘new kind of war’ rather than a conventional armed conflict. Counter-terrorist methods that were once considered illegal under international law (e.g. pre-emptive or preventive war, indefinite detention, torture and targeted killings) are thus notionally legitimised by these exceptions. The central question driving the project is whether the post-9/11 exception has now become the norm in US security policy and what this means for English School International Relations (IR) theory and its understanding of war as an institution of international society. To understand this, the project also engages in a detailed empirical analysis of US policy after Bush.

The essential aim of this blog is to o engage the global academic and user community in the research project and disseminate some of the project’s findings.

We will post more information on the project and the planned activities on the blog in the near future, but we already invite anyone interested to participate with comments and help us develop a lively new platform for discussion.