Invitation to the Sociology of International Law

ISBN : 9780198813637

Moshe Hirsch
240 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jul 2017
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Invitation to the Sociology of International Law aims to cast light on the under-explored sociological dimension of international law. The book emphasizes that international legal rules are profoundly embedded in diverse social factors and processes, such as norms, identity, and collective memory. Thus, international law often reflects and affects societal factors and processes in state societies and in the international community. The book exposes some central tenets of the sociological perspective and its core theoretical approaches, and presents a sociological analysis of several significant topics in present-day international law. The volume surveys subjects such as compliance, international economic law, legal fragmentation, law-making, and the impartiality of adjudicators, and reveals that a sociological analysis of international law enriches our understanding of social factors involved in the formation, evolution, and implementation of the law. Such analysis may not only explain past and present trends in international law but also bears significant implications for the interpretation of existing legal provisions, as well as suggesting better legal mechanisms for coping with contemporary challenges. In light of the underlying interrelationships between international law and other social factors, this book invites international law specialists to analyse international legal rules in their wider social context and to incorporate sociological tools into mainstream international law scholarship.


1 Introduction: The Sociological Dimension of International Law
2 Sociological Theories: Regional and Global Trade Agreements
3 Collective Memory and International Law
4 Social Identity, International Groups, and International Law
5 Diffusion of Norms and its Limits: Socio-Legal Fragmentation, Investment Tribunals, and Human Rights Law
6 Deviance and Conformity with International Law
7 Some Conclusions

About the author: 

Moshe Hirsch is the Von Hofmannsthal Chair in International Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He specializes in international economic law and international legal theory, with a particular emphasis on the sociology of international law. A significant part of his work involves interdisciplinary research that employs sociological theories, game theory, political economy, and international relations theory.

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