Traditional approaches to questions about nomos in IR typically focus upon either its establishment and the formal structures that emerge through interaction within a clearly delineated spatial area, or an exploration of US hegemony in the post-2003 world. In this article I posit a different approach, building on the ideas of Giorgio Agamben, which grounds nomos as a spatialisation of the exception within conditions of neoliberal modernity. I suggest that within the global nomos are more localised nomoi. These localised nomoi are a consequence of the spatialisation of the exception and a fundamental tension between localisation and ordering. I argue that while sovereign power has been a source of contemporary scholarship, such explorations have paid scant attention to the regulatory power of normative values and their capacity to create order within space. Such norms allow for a greater awareness of how sovereign power can be mobilised in and of itself as a form of contestation. Locating such debates in the Middle East, I explore the concept of nomos to understand how struggle over the localisation and ordering of space helps us to better understand contemporary political life.
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