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Part II Approaches, Ch.15 Marxist Approaches to International Law

Robert Knox

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law

Edited By: Anne Orford, Florian Hoffmann

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 19 June 2024

Responsibility of international organizations — Customary international law — General principles of international law — Relationship of international law & host state law — Sources of international law

This chapter attempts to chart a course through the complex terrain of Marxist theory as applied to international law, especially given that Marxist international legal theory can only be understood in relation to a number of other debates. Particularly important are Marxist debates about the relationship between the ‘base’ and ‘superstructure’, about the nature and function of the state, and theories of ideology and hegemony. To that end, the chapter explores Marxist theories of imperialism and their understanding of international law, such as the associations between international law and the dynamics of international capitalism, conducted under the rubric of ‘imperialism’. Finally, the chapter takes a specific look at Marxist international legal theory, in exploring the commodity-form theory, the ideology critique, and the positioning of the ‘Third World’ within international law.

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