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The Politics of International Law

The Politics of International Law (1st edn)

Nicole Scicluna
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date: 26 June 2022

p. 272. International law and international relations theorylocked

p. 272. International law and international relations theorylocked

  • Nicole Scicluna


This chapter discusses international law (IL) and international relations (IR) theory. It studies legal theory in order to better understand what law is, and how IL compares with domestic law. The chapter then introduces the major schools of IR theory, with a focus on how they conceptualize IL and its role in enabling and constraining the conduct of international politics. The disciplinary estrangement between IR and IL began to ease at the end of the 1980s. By that time there were already important strands within IR, including the English School, that were seeking to explain the prevalence of cooperation in an anarchical international system. New generations of IR scholars began theorizing the role of IL in structuring international politics, particularly from the perspectives of liberalism and constructivism, as well as from a range of critical approaches.

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