The Rule of Law in Inter-National Relations: Contestation Despite Diffusion – Diffusion Through Contestation
Forthcoming as Chapter 7 in: May, Christopher and Adam Winchester, eds, Handbook on the Rule of Law, Eward Elgar Publ
30 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2018
Date Written: June 11, 2018
This chapter discusses the rule of law as an example of the interplay between practices of constitution and the contestation of fundamental norms in global governance. Like most fundamental norms (or principles) the rule of law’s universal validity claim is globally well diffused, and at the same time stands highly contested locally. The ‘apparent unanimity in support of the rule of law is a feat unparalleled in history. No other single political ideal has ever achieved global endorsement’. Yet, it is also ‘“an essentially contested concept”, that is, a notion characterised by disagreement that extends to its core’. Dissensus and consensus are two aspects of the same process; they are connected through practices. Therefore, this chapter focuses on the practices of norm validation, which are presented as part of a “cycle-grid model”, so as to facilitate research that takes account of both empirical (mapping) and normative (shaping) dimensions of norms research in international relations (IR) theory and international law.
Keywords: rule of law, international law, international relations theory, contestation, diffusion, norms
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