Arms Control Law Included in the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 List Again!!!

I just recently got word that ACL has been chosen for the second year in a row for the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 list, as one of the top 100 best blogs for a legal audience!!!

See the official announcement here.

Let me first say that I really appreciate all of those who took the time and effort to answer my request back in July to nominate the blog for this distinction.  In particular, Professor Nader Entessar of the University of South Alabama wrote in some very kind comments about ACL, which the ABA Journal quoted in its announcement:

This is by far the best blog for impartial, yet critical, discussion of important legal issues about arms control law and its application. The posts debunk the simplistic analysis one reads in the news media.

This is certainly what I have hoped this blog would accomplish, and the recognition from readers and from the ABA Journal once again is extremely gratifying. I of course share this honor with all of the other contributors to ACL who have written posts this year.

This seems like an appropriate moment to mention some thoughts that have recently crystallized in my mind about the purpose of this blog, and all the writing that I, in particular, do on it (I do not presume to speak for the other bloggers on ACL).

It’s no secret that I have often been frustrated by the dynamics of the arms control epistemic community.  Here I should of course clarify. I see several distinct communities, or audiences, existing under this broader umbrella, that I try to address and engage with in my work.

The first is the international law scholarly community, of which I consider myself firstly and foremost a part. This is my home community, and with very few exceptions, I respect and value the collegial engagement that I have always had with the members of this community, a number of whom are bloggers with me here at ACL. This community includes university students of international law at all levels (undergraduate and graduate).

The second is the policy community. This is of course comprised of officials of governments and international organizations working in the arms control area. Here I experience all the complexities that any academic does in trying to engage and influence relevant policymakers. It is my hope that my writing on this blog, and also in my books and articles, has had and will continue to have an influence in this community.

The third is the primarily NGO-based arms control wonk community, about which I have written critically on numerous occasions (recently here). Unfortunately, in at least some circles of the policy community (e.g. the US government, the IAEA), the arms control wonk community has a disproportionate influence. I have tried to engage with the wonk community on many occasions, but overall these attempts have been rebuffed.

So this is my newly crystallized resolution. I write what I write on this blog, and in my scholarly books and articles, primarily for the international law scholarly community, and for the policy community. The arms control wonk community is, for reasons I’ve discussed previously, essentially impervious to ideas from sources outside of its own cliquish, incestuous, and self-referential circles. It has become clear that they are not open to genuine engagement, and are therefore essentially beyond influencing.

I do have some hope, however, that university students who will in the future become members of the arms control wonk community, may yet be susceptible to influence, and so I will include them in my understanding of the audience of this blog and my other work. In fact, I think of them as a key audience, because they will in the future have influence in policy circles, and I’m hopeful that my work can influence them before they become indoctrinated by their mentors in the existing wonk community. It is for the sake of these future arms control wonks that I will point out the shortcomings of their predecessors.

This reappraisal of the audience of this blog and of my other work is basically a part of my ongoing mid-career crisis, in which I’m trying to identify my professional identity and plan for the future.


7 Comments on “Arms Control Law Included in the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 List Again!!!”

  1. Cyrus says:

    Conratulations! and to think you were considering quitting!

    • Dan Joyner says:

      Thanks Cyrus. Oh, I’ve thought about quitting a few times, and I doubt that time will be the last. But I don’t think I could ever stop, honestly. It’s actually cathartic for me to have an outlet to say what I think about things on an ongoing basis – not just in one law review article every couple of years. So I suspect this blog will be a permanent feature.

      • Cyrus says:

        Yes that’s why I set myself an artificial stop date for my blog — though I did not abide by it entirely. Waiting to see the outcome of these talks I guess.

  2. masoud says:

    Congrats Dan,
    This blog really is great. You’ve really done an invaluable service, not only to the communities you mention, but to people in general, wherever in the world they may be who are skeptical of the narratives served up by the USG and their allied wonking community, but lack the specific training and knowledge required to separate truth from fiction on these matters.

  3. yousaf says:

    Congratulations Dan!…An invaluable forum.

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