Political Science Research on International Law: The State of the Field
Emilie Marie Hafner-Burton
UCSD School of Global Policy and Strategy
David G. Victor
UC San Diego, School of Global Policy and Strategy
George Washington University - Department of Political Science
August 23, 2011
The discipline of political science has developed an active research program on international institutions. Among its top ranks are scholars who study the development, operation, spread and impact of international legal doctrine and organizations – also matters of great interest to the legal community. Meanwhile, a growing number of public international lawyers have developed an interest in political science research and methods. For more than two decades there have been calls and frameworks for international lawyers and political scientists to collaborate. Some prominent collaborations are under way – sharing research methods and insights. Yet the two fields are still notable for their distance. This essay offers a fresh survey of what political science has learned that may be of special interest to international lawyers. More than 20 years have passed since the last large essay of this type. During that interim the field of political science has made substantial progress in some areas and also shifted its focus to new questions. For lawyers who are not familiar with political science scholarship, our aim is to introduce some of the basic concepts and methods that could contribute to their own research. For the growing number of legal scholars already engaged with research in political science and the other social sciences our aim is to offer a roadmap to political science research that might not yet be apparent and suggest some areas where collaboration is likely to be especially fruitful.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 104
Keywords: International Relations, International Law
JEL Classification: K33
Date posted: February 21, 2011 ; Last revised: August 26, 2011
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