International law and international relations theory

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter discusses international law (IL) and international relations (IR) theory. It studies legal theory in order to better understand what law is, and how IL compares with domestic law. The chapter then introduces the major schools of IR theory, with a focus on how they conceptualize IL and its role in enabling and constraining the conduct of international politics. The disciplinary estrangement between IR and IL began to ease at the end of the 1980s. By that time there were already important strands within IR, including the English School, that were seeking to explain the prevalence of cooperation in an anarchical international system. New generations of IR scholars began theorizing the role of IL in structuring international politics, particularly from the perspectives of liberalism and constructivism, as well as from a range of critical approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Politics of International Law
EditorsNicole Scicluna
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780198791201
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2021

User-Defined Keywords

  • international law
  • international relations
  • international relations theory
  • legal theory
  • domestic law
  • international politics
  • English School
  • international system
  • liberalism
  • constructivism


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