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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.9) 1 Society
International Law as Social Construct

Carlo Focarelli

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the social origins and nature of law and the consequences in terms of how law is discerned in society. It notes that any discourse on international law presupposes a given conception of law, and ultimately one or another approach to human nature and social life, from which certain conclusions rather than others about how law are derived. By developing Sigmund Freud's insights into the origin and nature of law, the discussion argues that law amounts to collective violence aimed at countering individual violence and that the distinction between law and non-law is relative to social context. The chapter defines law as a social phenomenon both because it is created and sustained by society and because its legal quality depends on what its addressees as a whole in any particular society believe.

Keywords:   collective violence, individual violence, international law, sigmund Freud, non-law

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