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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.34) 2 Myth
International Law as Social Construct

Carlo Focarelli

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the meaning of law as a socially-constructed reality. It argues that law is a social construct ultimately founded in mythic belief. In any society, law is what is seen as such by those who see themselves as its addressees. Thus, law, including international law, is real and objective to any member of the community as imposed by the community as a whole. Without a mythic sense of commonality there can hardly be law. The discussion suggests that the fact that people are part of the process of law-making and unmaking creates a dynamic which both implies and calls for commitment and struggle. The struggle for law should be a struggle for justice, here understood as the protection of the most vulnerable.

Keywords:   social construct, law, international law, mythic belief, justice

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