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International Law as Ideology: Theorizing the Relationship between International Law and International Politics

Shirley V. Scott
1994 European journal of international law  
Theorization of the relationship of international law to the broader political system of which it is a sub-system is of relevance to scholars of international law and international relations. The dominant post-war paradigm in international relations has been realism, 1 which dismisses international law as being virtually irrelevant to matters of 'high' politics. 2 The process of international politics is accounted for by the concept of power and international law is regarded as having no
more » ... as having no intrinsic significance. 3 The retention of a power-law dichotomy has effectively blocked moves towards a more sophisticated conceptualization of the significance of international law to international politics. It is understandable that, as a group, international lawyers have perceived little to be gained from dialogue with proponents of realism and have remained sheltered behind legal positivism. The two disciplines have for the most part remained comfortably disengaged on the subject 4 And yet, international legal theorists have increasingly recognized their need for greater understanding of the politics of international law 5 and stand to gain much * The Univenity of Queensland, Australia.
doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.ejil.a035873 fatcat:6kvsmkpywzeyfpz6wsx7ae3fcy