Recall it Again, Sam - Practices of Repetition in the Security Council
Security Council Resolutions seldom only appear only once. More often than not, they are recalled, reiterated, recognized, re-emphasized or reaffirmed in subsequent Resolutions. Wouter Werner, VU University, studies some of the effects of such acts of repetition.
This event is part of the lecture series 'Law and Justice Across Borders'.
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Based on an analysis of acts of repetition in films and novels, I argue that acts of repetition are related to (a) the problem of origins; (b) the problem of authorship/authority and (c) the problem of continuity and change. Through acts of repetition, Resolutions can claim that they had already begun before they were enacted; that there was something “before the beginning”. Moreover, acts of repetition help securing the continuity of the author (authority) of Resolutions. Finally, acts of repetition make it possible to confirm and at the same time adapt earlier statements. After all, repetition is more than a simple copy-pasting of the past into the present. It is an act of re-appropriation; of making the past one’s own (again), in the light of present conditions and future orientations. Repetition therefore links the present to the past, while at the same time updating the past in light of the present and the future.
Wouter Werner is Professor of public international law at the Centre for the Politics of Transnational Law at VU University, Amsterdam. His research focuses on documentary film and international law, theatrical aspects of international law and the representation of international law in museum exhibitions.
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