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Liberal versus Political Models of Global Governance

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Abstract

Scholarship on international law in political science is dominated by a liberal paradigm that seeks to distinguish legal forms from political ones. The liberal approach offers a consensual model of international law in which legalization is a manifestation of intergovernmental cooperation in the pursuit of mutual goals. These two assumptions - that law is cooperative and that cooperation is a normative good - lead liberal global governance scholars away from key political questions about international legalization : namely, who wins and who loses. This results in the pathologies that Judith Shklar identified as 'legalism', when legal processes appear as charmed and neutral alternatives to politics. This article examines the liberal framework on global governance and law and contrast it with a competing political view. I show the differences between the two and outline the competing research agendas and policy advice that follows from them. The liberal model leads to the policy suggestion that decisionmakers should comply with international law, for self-interested and for more universal reasons, while the political alternative sees compliance as advancing some interests against others. With different theories of how law and politics are related, the two lead to competing interpretations of history as well as different policy prescriptions.
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hal-03230094 , version 1 (19-05-2021)

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Ian Hurd. Liberal versus Political Models of Global Governance. 2019. ⟨hal-03230094⟩

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