Multidisciplinary Reflections on the Relationship between Professionals and The(ir) International Law
18 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2013
Date Written: December 4, 2013
The present contribution approaches the theme of international law as a profession by focusing on the relationship between professionals and the(ir) law. It argues that understanding international law as a practice can plausibly articulate how it is both true that professionals make their law and that the law makes its professionals. It places its argument between the twin dangers of intentionalism, which reduces the language of international law to the will of its speakers and, of objectivism, which reifies international law or reduces it to an undistorted mirror image of structural forces. On the one hand, the contribution draws attention to the professionals as agents and speakers. It emphasises the variety of their roles, explores their respective engagement with international law, and it flashes out the drawbacks of intentionalism. On the other hand, it highlights the study of social conditions that influence professionals, and of biographies as a medium to approach these forces. It shows the drawbacks of objectivism. Setting out a road between these two sides with a refined understanding of international practice, then, also helps to better locate the autonomy of international law. The contribution closes with an outlook on the appeal of formalism and a note on the anxieties about inter-disciplinarity.
Keywords: International Lawmaking, Pierre Bourdieu, Intentionalism, Objectivism, Formalism, Sociology, Linguistics
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