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Cornell Law Faculty Publications

International Law

1998

Ethnography

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Infinity Within The Brackets, Annelise Riles Aug 1998

Infinity Within The Brackets, Annelise Riles

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The ethnographic subjects of this article are UN-sponsored international conferences and their legal documents. Drawing upon fieldwork among Fiji delegates at these conferences, in this article I demonstrate the centrality of matters of form, as distinct from questions of “meaning,” in the negotiation of international agreements. A parallel usage of documents and of mats among Fijian negotiators provides a heuristic device for exploring questions of pattern and scale in the aesthetics of negotiation.