Power and International Law
American Journal of International Law, Vol. 100, pp. 64-87, 2006
25 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2006
This Centennial Essay elaborates and analyzes the range of stances on the relationship between power and international law that have appeared in the "American Journal of International Law" in the last century. While views of the relationship between power and international law are diverse, and many approaches straddle heuristic lines, they can be grouped into four intellectual movements: classical legal thought; realism (of which there are three variants); law matters (sociological, rationalist-institutionalist, and liberal views); and constructivism. Each major intellectual movement may be seen as a reaction to the ideas that preceded it, and each may be better understood in the context of international developments contemporaneous with their emergence. In recent years, each major movement has evolved to employ elements from earlier theoretical traditions; articles increasingly focus less on establishing the primacy of one particular meta-theory, and more on using the heuristics and methods of more than one approach to understand the relationship between power and law in a particular legal or policy context. Isms are in decline and hybridized heuristics are in ascendance.
Keywords: Intellectual movements, relationship between power and international law, international law scholarship
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