Network Analysis and the Sociology of International Law
Research Handbook on the Sociology of International Law (A. Lang & M. Hirsch eds., 2018 Forthcoming)
16 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2018
Date Written: February 19, 2018
Social scientists, including economists, sociologists, and anthropologists, have relied for decades on tools derived from network analysis. These tools, and key findings obtained through their application, are only beginning to be applied to the study of law and legal institutions, including international law. In this contribution, I briefly explain the origins, basic premises, and operation of network analysis, as well as its possible application to specific international legal fields. I briefly revisit its application to international arbitration and discuss the main limitations of this methodological approach to understanding the role of social dynamics in international law’s making, interpretation, and enforcement. While optimistic about the growing use of this research strategy for uncovering the sociology of international law, I argue that we should also be cautious of the normative and explanatory conclusions derived from the application of network analysis. In particular, network analysis’s application may be problematic if detached from careful understanding of the specific contexts in which legal institutions operate.
Keywords: international arbitration, network analysis and the law, international law, social network
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation