Authority in Transnational Legal Theory

Authority in Transnational Legal Theory

Theorising Across Disciplines

Elgar Studies in Legal Theory

Edited by Roger Cotterrell and Maksymilian Del Mar

The increasing transnationalisation of regulation – and social life more generally – challenges the basic concepts of legal and political theory today. One of the key concepts being so challenged is authority. This discerning book offers a plenitude of resources and suggestions for meeting that challenge.

Chapter 10: From authority to authorities: bridging the social/normative divide

Nicole Roughan

Subjects: law - academic, legal philosophy, legal theory, public international law


This chapter takes up the methodological challenge of theorizing about authority in circumstances of plurality, and in particular, the relationship between normative and sociological accounts of authority. The chapter makes two core claims. First, that the normative and sociological accounts of authority are both integrated and mutually dependent; and second, that there remains value in a strictly normative conception of legal authority, despite the challenge from many theorists of transnational law who argue for the loosening or relaxation of conceptions of authority to accommodate phenomena such as ‘soft law’, ‘liquid authority,’ or ‘governance’.

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