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Part II Approaches, Ch.16 Realist Approaches to International Law

Oliver Jütersonke

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: 13 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 outlines some of the linkages between a genuinely legal realist approach to (international) law and jurisprudence, and the claims of political realists about the role and status of law in the international sphere. It explores realism as an argumentative strategy, in considering what an argumentative structure would look like in international legal thought. The second part of the chapter then examines the intellectual heritage of what has explicitly been labelled ‘legal realism’, in both its American and Scandinavian versions, in order to find a place for a legal realist position within the canon of legal theory. Finally, the chapter seeks to relate the views of political realism about international law to the ways in which international lawyers themselves have sought to include an external position about the reality of international law into their own theories and doctrines.

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