Encyclopedia of Global Justice

2011 Edition
| Editors: Deen K. Chatterjee

Modus Vivendi

  • Don E. Scheid
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9160-5_325

Used mainly in international law and diplomacy, the Latin phrase modus vivendi signifies a temporary or provisional accommodation between disputing parties to allow life to go on. Modus means “mode” or “manner,” and vivendi means “of living.” Hence, the literal meaning of the phrase is “mode or manner of living.”

Modus vivendi usually denotes an informal and temporary political arrangement. For instance, antagonists may reach a modus vivendi concerning a specific territory in spite of their conflicting claims to the territory. They might, for example, “agree to disagree” and come to a temporary arrangement for control of the border and administration of the disputed territory until a more permanent and more substantial agreement can be worked out between the parties, or an authoritative judgment can be rendered by an appropriate international court. An agreement that is, in fact, a modus vivendimay not always be designated as such and, instead, be referred to as a “temporary...

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  1. Lipson C (1991) Why are some international agreements informal? Int Organ 45(4):495–538Google Scholar
  2. von Glahn G (1986) Law of nations: an introduction to public international law, 5th edn. Macmillan, New York, pp 399–402 (The codfish war)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Don E. Scheid
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyWinona State UniversityWinonaUSA