Journal Article

Max Huber's Sociological Approach to International Law Revisited

Jost Delbrück

in European Journal of International Law

Published on behalf of The EJIL

Volume 18, issue 1, pages 97-113
Published in print February 2007 | ISSN: 0938-5428
Published online February 2007 | e-ISSN: 1464-3596 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ejil/chm003
Max Huber's Sociological Approach to International Law Revisited

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Almost a century ago Max Huber published his basic text on a sociology of international law. In a time like ours in which serious challenges to the notion of an international law binding upon all states are not uncommon, it appears to be appropriate to recall Huber's outstanding contribution to this recurrent debate over the nature and role of international law in international relations. To understand his conception of a sociology of international law, this article traces the impact of Huber's socio-political and intellectual environment on his work. Central to Huber's conceptualization of a sociology of international law is his perception of the nature of the state and the key problem of the binding force of international law, which he ultimately found to rest on the collective interest of the states in its binding force. In his early years, Huber adhered to the notion that international law is plain ‘Machtrecht’, but later on he turned away from this position without retreating from his sociological approach to international law altogether.

Journal Article.  8488 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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