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International Law as Social ConstructThe Struggle for Global Justice$
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Carlo Focarelli

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199584833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199584833.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
International Law as Social Construct

Carlo Focarelli

Oxford University Press

This chapter notes that international law now is believed to be a global law of humankind and no longer a Westphalian, state-centred form of law. It argues that international law can contribute in some measure to global justice if it is seen as a social construct. Today, non-state actors are given special emphasis in their participation in what is called ‘global governance’, and the centrality of states is increasingly challenged. It is also notable that the reality and objectivity of international law has been seriously challenged, especially by Realists and Deconstructionists. While the objections to the legal character of international law are strong, this chapter suggests that international law is not real or objective law goes against the evidence. It also argues that law is law because it works among its addressees in their own perception.

Keywords:   international law, global justice, social construct, global governance, deconstructionists, law

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