The Sociological Dimension of International Law
Introduction to the book Invitation to the Sociology of International Law (OUP, 2015)
19 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2015 Last revised: 7 Jan 2016
Date Written: November 30, 2015
This article is the introduction to the book 'Invitation to the Sociology of International Law' (OUP, 2015). International law is deeply embedded in various sociological factors and processes. Numerous international legal rules reflect and affect societal factors and processes such as norms, socialization, identity, and collective memory. Political and economic dimensions of international law are overlain with a sociological dimension, but this study focuses on the sociological dimension of international law. While the idea that international law and other societal processes are profoundly interlinked is not new, international legal literature habitually pays only scant attention to socio-cultural aspects of international law. In light of the underlying interrelationships between international law and other social factors, the book invites international law specialists to analyse international legal rules in their wider social context, and incorporate sociological tools into mainstream international law scholarship.
The book aims to introduce readers to some key sociological elements and major theoretical approaches, and illustrates their valuable contribution to international legal scholarship. To exemplify the properties of the sociological analysis, the book employs sociological tools to explore diverse topics in contemporary international law, including the World Trade Organization's (WTO) rules regulating regional trade agreements; legal fragmentation and the interaction between international investment law and human rights law; impartiality of adjudicators; compliance with and breach of international law; and the European Union's rules concerning economic and monetary cooperation.
Keywords: international law, international legal theory, sociology, international relations
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