State Nobility in the Field of International Criminal Justice: Divergent Elites and the Contest to Control Power over Capital

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Criminal law was long considered as the sovereign domain of the state. However, after the end
of the Cold War, states created new international criminal courts. These courts are part of a
wider field of international criminal justice in which different elites work to develop, support,
and critique legal ideas and practices that either complement or challenge the state. Inspired
by Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology and based on a multiple correspondence analysis with sixty-four
modalities, this article contributes a critical analysis of 365 elite agents active in this field. The
analysis shows how different types and volumes of capital structure relations between these
elites as well as between the field of international criminal justice and the state. Because these
relations can turn state nobility against its national origins, international criminal justice poses a
potential challenge to the state’s social fabric which goes beyond legal and political controversies:
International criminal justice is emblematic of a competition over the value of and control over
capital which plays out at the borders between the national and the international. This contest
underlines that the state does necessarily control power over state capital and that, when its
elites no longer reproduce its meta-capital, the state loses the semblance of being a unified actor
on the world stage. Whereas the intensity of this contest over capital might be particular to the
field of international criminal justice, similar battles of control are likely to affect the relations
between the state and other globalized fields of law, justice, and politics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)753-770
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2023

ID: 339624275