Some Characteristics of Times of Transition in International Law: Shift from Marginality to Centrality (on the occasion of women’s day)

One of the most vivid characteristics of any moment of transition is that aspects that used to be in the margins, in the sense that they were merely tolerated but were not in the core of the system, become more and more important. Sometimes, these aspects were even disregarded because they did not fit the prevailing framework. When they were strong enough to be mentioned they were often presented as deviations, as “the exception that confirms the rule”. Most of the times, they were aspects not worth being regulated since they fell out of the agreed framework. The migration of these realities from the periphery to the nucleus of the conceptual/institutional prevailing framework is one sign of changing times. Of course, in periods of transition, the prevailing features do not disappear and so the result is a quite unique mixture of characteristics of different models that often battle for achieving dominance. The process, however, is normally gradual, in the sense that we are not faced with a situation of a Kuhnian revolution  but merely of a series of accommodations of aspects that could be prevalent in several different models.  Along this process the weakening of the (classical) model becomes evident, since its internal coherence holds together with growing difficulty.

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