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International Law TheoriesAn Inquiry into Different Ways of Thinking$
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Andrea Bianchi

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198725114

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198725114.001.0001

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Different Ways of Thinking about International Law

Different Ways of Thinking about International Law

(p.1) 1 Different Ways of Thinking about International Law
International Law Theories

Andrea Bianchi

Oxford University Press

The introduction emphasizes the crucial role of reflexivity in any epistemological discourse. To be aware of one’s standpoint and bias is key to developing a self-reflexive attitude, which may help to understand better who we are, how we do things professionally, and where we can position ourselves as regards the different theories or approaches to international law. The chapter introduces the reader to the fundamental distinction between doing law and thinking about law; to the multi-faceted notion of scientific discipline (as well as its interaction with other disciplines); and to the battle amongst the different schools of thought within it to acquire the legitimacy to speak authoritatively for the discipline. International law theorizing is eventually analogized to ‘worldmaking’. What we think of international law and the way we see it depend on our observational standpoint and on the tools (intellectual, cultural, and so on) we use to look at it.

Keywords:   theory and practice, reflexivity, interdisciplinarity, method, scientific field, disciplinary studies

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