The Paradoxical Place of Territory in International Law

  • Martin KuijerEmail author
  • Wouter Werner
Part of the Netherlands Yearbook of International Law book series (NYIL, volume 47)


This introductory chapter presents some of the key issues and developments surrounding the relationship between territory and international law. While most rules of international law are traditionally based on the notion of State territory, new developments have challenged territory as the main organising principle in international relations. In particular, three trends have affected the role of territoriality in international law: the move towards functional regimes, the rise of cosmopolitan projects claiming to transgress state boundaries, and the development of technologies resulting in the need to address intangible, non-territorial, phenomena. Yet, notwithstanding some profound changes, it remains impossible to think of international law without a territorial locus. The contributions to this Volume demonstrate that, if international law is undergoing changes, this implies a reconfiguration of territory, but not a move beyond it.


Territory Territoriality Jurisdiction Sovereignty Functionalism Cosmopolitanism Technology 


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Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the authors 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ministry of Security and Justice of the NetherlandsThe HagueThe Netherlands
  2. 2.VU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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