Defending Global Legalism

in The Perils of Global Legalism

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780226675749
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226675923 | DOI:
Defending Global Legalism

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Global legalism depends on the assumption that states comply with international law routinely or habitually, but it is hard to make sense of this assumption with traditional international relations methodologies that emphasize state interest. Many scholars have argued that international legal compliance of states is due to substate processes—processes that involve the interests, incentives, and values of people who operate the government or pressure the government. Disaggregate the state, find out what makes it work, and you will see that routine compliance with international law, and hence global legalism itself, is not hard to understand. Or so the legalists argue. This chapter, which examines and rejects this argument, first examines the difference between the unitary state hypothesis and the disaggregated state hypothesis. It then discusses the way that non-state actors (courts, government officials, interest groups, nongovernmental organizations, and citizens) may cause states to comply with or violate international law. The chapter also looks at international law versus international morality and the diffusion of norms, before concluding with a discussion on global legalism and the disaggregated state.

Keywords: global legalism; international law; international relations; legal compliance; unitary state; disaggregated state; non-state actors; international morality; courts; government officials

Chapter.  15789 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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