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The Nomos of Border-Making Practices: The Chaco War, League of Nations and Indigenous Dispossession

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The Nomos of Border-Making Practices: The Chaco War, League of Nations and Indigenous Dispossession

Braiden, Michelle (2014) The Nomos of Border-Making Practices: The Chaco War, League of Nations and Indigenous Dispossession. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The Chaco War (1932-1935) was a border war fought between Bolivia and Paraguay over the Chaco Boreal, a vast expanse of land in the centre of South America that was (and still is) traditional indigenous territory. This thesis analyzes a document published by the League of Nations on the conflict, The Report of the League of Nations Commission on the Chaco Dispute Between Bolivia and Paraguay, from the perspective of critical border studies. The League of Nations considered itself a disinterested third party arbitrator in the dispute. The central argument of this thesis is that the League was not a disinterested party and that its Report on the Chaco War is not a neutral retelling of the events of the Chaco War. Rather, the League’s Report is an expression of dominant Western border-making practices and exemplifies the way in which the border discourses of the interwar period failed to recognize indigenous sovereignty with respect to land, law and custom. This thesis therefore inquires into the relationship between borders and spatial imaginaries as embedded in three discourses of indigenous dispossession: the doctrine of just war, the legal principle of uti possidetis de jure and the legal concept of terra nullius. The work of Carl Schmitt is used to highlight the links between these border-making discourses and indigenous dispossession. Schmitt’s concept of the nomos is discussed in relation to the spatial order of the League of Nations and its attempts to uphold the Westphalian paradigm of international law while simultaneously claiming to be a humanitarian institution.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Geography, Planning and Environment
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Braiden, Michelle
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M. Sc.
Program:Geography, Urban & Environmental Studies
Date:August 2014
Thesis Supervisor(s):Gould, Kevin
ID Code:978939
Deposited By: MICHELLE BRAIDEN
Deposited On:11 Nov 2014 15:30
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:48
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