Why we should see international law as a structure: Unpicking international law’s ontology and agency

Sinclair, Adriana (2020) Why we should see international law as a structure: Unpicking international law’s ontology and agency. International Relations. ISSN 0047-1178

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Abstract

This article identifies how three dominant ideas of international law (as a process, an institution and a practice) see its agency, concluding that all three share a reluctance to see international law as doing anything more than enabling the operation of other actors, forces or structures. This article argues that we should see international law as a structure because it possesses both the surface structure of rules, principles, processes, personnel and material elements of the international legal system and a deep structure of values that sits deep within our subconscious. As Shklar’s idea of legalism shows us, legalism plays a powerful role in shaping all our understandings of ourselves and the world that surrounds us. Seeing international law as a structure enables us to see how it locates actors within a social hierarchy and how it behaves in similar ways to recognised structures like capitalism and racism.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: agency,international law,law as an actor,law’s agency,legalism,structure,political science and international relations ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3320
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Political, Social and International Studies
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 22 May 2020 00:23
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2020 23:59
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/75282
DOI: 10.1177/0047117820916223

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