International law and the mediation of culture

Reus-Smit, Christian (2014) International law and the mediation of culture. Ethics and International Affairs, 28 1: 65-82. doi:10.1017/S0892679414000069

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Author Reus-Smit, Christian
Title International law and the mediation of culture
Journal name Ethics and International Affairs   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0892-6794
1747-7093
Publication date 2014-01-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1017/S0892679414000069
Volume 28
Issue 1
Start page 65
End page 82
Total pages 18
Place of publication New York, United States
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Language eng
Abstract When international relations scholars think about international law they either ignore culture or offer highly deterministic accounts of its role. For the majority of scholars, international law is a rational construction, an institutional solution to the problem of order in an anarchical system, a body of rules and practices that reflect the contending interests and capabilities of major states. Issues of culture barely rate a mention. For others, culture is the deep foundation of international law, the structuring mentality that gives law its form and content. International law, from this perspective, is a Western cultural artifact, globalized through centuries of imperialism and hegemony. These contrasting views lead to different expectations about the future of international law in today's culturally diverse international order. For rationalists, law's fate will be determined by the shifting configuration of interests that accompany new functional challenges and great power transitions. For the more culturally attuned, there are two possibilities. One is that functional utility will replace culture as law's foundation. International law may well be a Western cultural artifact, but rational buy-in will sustain it in a multicultural world. The other, more pessimistic, expectation is that the rule of international law will be fundamentally undermined by cultural diversity, particularly as rising non-Western powers articulate and promote markedly different cultural norms and values.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
 
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Created: Tue, 20 May 2014, 11:09:56 EST by System User on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies