Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2008


Private Law, Globalization, Financial Law, ISDA, Derivatives, Japan


Comparative and Foreign Law


Global private law has become the source of both anxiety and euphoria. Inherent in this fascination is the assumption that global private law threatens the legitimacy of the state by taking over its functions through new techniques of governance. In this article, I build upon research in one arena of global private governance, the production of legal documentation for the global swap markets, to challenge the most prominent assumptions about private law beyond the state. I argue that rather than focusing on how global private law is or is not an artifact of state power, a body of private norms, or a coherent legal system, we should view global private law as a set of institutions, actors, doctrines, ideas, documents, that is, as a specialized set of "knowledge practices." Viewed from this perspective, global private law is not a radical departure from state law, but really more of the same. Ultimately, I suggest that the "threat," if any, of global private law for the state lies instead in the way it replicates the work of the state in practical, mundane, and routine ways.

Publication Citation

American Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 56, no. 3 (Summer 2008)