Research Handbook on the Theory and Practice of International Lawmaking
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Research Handbook on the Theory and Practice of International Lawmaking

Edited by Catherine Brölmann and Yannick Radi

The global landscape has changed profoundly over the past decades. As a result, the account of the making of international law based on the traditional theory of sources is increasingly challenged. This Handbook offers a comprehensive guide to the theory and practice of international law‐making today. It takes stock at both the conceptual and the empirical level of the instruments, processes, and actors involved in the making of international law. The book contains essays by leading scholars on key aspects of international law-making and on law-making in the main issue areas, with an interest in classic processes as well as new developments and shades of normativity.
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Chapter 4: Contemporary theories and international lawmaking

Ingo Venzke


Many contemporary theories approach international law-making with a shift in emphasis from the sources of law towards the communicative practices in which a plethora of actors use, claim and speak international law. The contribution proceeds by sketching the move from sources to communicative practice against the backdrop of the 'linguistic turn', which proposes that law is made 'in action' (II.). It then dedicates sections to principal contemporary theories, starting off with the New Haven School (III.). Its heritage is refined in the theory of transnational legal process (IV.). In contrast to these voices from New Haven, systems theory abstracts from the political strategies of concrete actors (V.). Practice theory combines, first, sociological thought on the heels of Pierre Bourdieu and, second, philosophical insights of pragmatism (VI.). Governance theory then suggests paying more attention to regulatory networks as sites of law-making and to private actors whose normative output gains bite in the market place (VII.). The concluding outlook discusses the Global Administrative Law project and research centered on international public authority as responses to the normative challenges that come with the multiplication of forms and fora of international law-making (VIII.).

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