Research Handbook on the Sociology of International Law - Introduction
Moshe Hirsch and Andrew Lang, 'Introduction', in Moshe Hirsch and Andrew Lang (eds.), Research Handbook on the Sociology of International Law (Elgar, 2018)
Hebrew University of Jerusalem International Law Forum Working Series [01-19]
Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research
18 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2020
Date Written: January 7, 2019
Bringing together a highly diverse body of scholars, this comprehensive Research Handbook explores recent developments at the intersection of international law, sociology and social theory. It showcases a wide range of methodologies and approaches, including those inspired by traditional social thought as well as less familiar literature, including computational linguistics, performance theory and economic sociology. It reflects the fact that we are in the middle of a particularly fertile period of creative borrowing between the disciplines of international law and sociology. This borrowing no doubt partly reflects a broader and more general turn towards interdisciplinary work in international law, a turn which has its roots in the changing character of the international legal academy, as well as the newly problematized place of legal knowledge as a privileged expertise of international governance. But it also reflects the fact that quite profound social and political changes to the international order over the last decades have led international lawyers to consider again some fundamental questions which had appeared settled – or had at least been provisionally bracketed – for some time. What is the state? What motivates international actors to behave as they do? How are states’ interests formed, and how do they change? What is ‘culture’, and how does it relate to international law? Who interprets the world for international actors, how, and to what effect? How are (global) markets made and unmade? What dynamics drive the messy processes by which international law is formed, interpreted, and implemented? Many international lawyers interested in these questions have found themselves returning to, and taking inspiration from, an eclectic range of different traditions of social and sociological thought, This new sociological turn is helping to creating spaces in which the constraints of what has become orthodox international legal thinking have been consciously cast off in pursuit of new kinds of thinking, more suitable for the rapidly transforming social and political landscape in which contemporary international lawyering is done.
For this volume, we asked our authors, first, to situate their intervention within a particular tradition of sociological or social theoretic thinking, and second, to explain and illustrate how and why they find this tradition useful in thinking about some contemporary development, or problem, within the domain of international law and governance. The result is a diverse and exciting set of contributions, which lay out a variety of paths down which future international legal scholarship may choose to travel, or indeed which it may contest.
Keywords: International Law, Sociology, Social Theory, International Economic Law, Production of Knowledge, Globalization
JEL Classification: 0
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation