Andreas Kotsakis, ‘Change and Subjectivity in International Environmental Law: The Micro-Politics of the Transformation of Biodiversity into Genetic Gold’, Transnational Environmental Law 2013.
There is no hope for international environmental law to be an engine for global social change when it can no longer provide a compelling account of itself. This article presents a theoretical framework, constructed from the works of Michel Foucault, capable of tracing this loss of descriptive capacity, as well as the resultant prescriptive confusion. The analysis examines the challenges posed by the triptych of biodiversity, biotechnology and neoliberalism housed under the idea of genetic gold, and calls for attention to micro-politics, in the shape of the apparatuses for the production of environmental subjectivity that operate outside the formal structures of the international legal sphere. The trope of genetic gold is revealed as an obsolete attempt to protect a fixed idea of biodiversity based on an outdated conception of environmental value. In response, the author argues for a mature confrontation with the end(s) of international environmental law.