International Legal Scholarship Under Challenge
For publication in: Jean d’Aspremont, Tarcisio Gazzini, André Nollkaemper and Wouter Werner (eds.), International Law as a Profession (Cambridge UP 2015 Forthcoming)
32 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2015 Last revised: 7 Jun 2016
Date Written: March 24, 2015
The paper discusses five charges which are raised against international legal scholarship: (1) the charge of epistemic nationalism (that much or all international legal scholarship is (maybe inevitably) determined by the national background of the researcher and therefore suffers from a national bias); (2) the charge that much of international legal scholarship is value-loaded and therefore ideological, ‘moralising’, ‘too’ idealist and utopian (the charge of ideology); (3) the charge that much scholarship is too close and too much influenced by legal practice, and thus too ‘unscholarly’; (4) the charge that much of the research activities are too detached from practice (the charge of social and political irrelevance; (5) the reproach that much of (notably European) international legal scholarship is limits itself to purely internal arguments about legal constructs, interpretation according to the traditional canons, concentrating on legal terms, seeking to systematize and harmonize legal provisions, and commenting on judicial decisions (the charge of doctrinalism).
The paper concludes that these charges can be successfully met by a pluralist international legal scholarship, needed in the novel period of international law we are living though, a period which is characterised by a high tension between interdependence and globalisation (economic, technical, and cultural) on the one hand, and stark cleavages and fencing (ideational, economic, territorial) among states, on the other hand.
Keywords: epistemic nationalism, ideology, science, intersubjective comprehensibility, legal theory, comparative international legal scholarship, doctrinalism, legal practice, academic law-making, Werturteilsstreit
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