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Abstract

Despite their importance in globalised trade, shipping containers have been neglected in legal scholarship. Our disciplinary fascination with written forms of legal activity has come to the detriment of the study of regulatory practices that operate beyond textual mediums. In this article, I argue that processes of containerisation created transnational patterns of material normalisation. By reconstructing the debates within the International Organization for Standardization, I suggest that container standardisation effectively normalised a particular vision of world ordering. Instead of seeing containers as insignificant metal boxes, I contend they are repositories of sociotechnical imaginaries of global governance.

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