Edited by David Levi-Faur
Chapter 44: Global Regulation through a Diversity of Norms: Comparing Hard and Soft Law
Sylvia I. Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen International legal scholars tend to see the rule of law as the fundamental tool in creating order and facilitating cooperation in the international system, while many international relations scholars have made governance the central analytical concept in their study of the same system. This has created a false dichotomy between law and governance. In unpacking both approaches, the role of a whole range of different kinds of norms, including but going beyond legal norms, comes to the fore. This chapter focuses on the diversity of norms that are used as tools in global governance and poses the question: what is the difference between governing through legal norms (law) and governing through non-legal norms? There is a plethora of terms for formalized ‘standards of behaviour’ in global governance and law literature that are used differently or interchangeably or that sometimes even overlap. This handbook uses ‘rules’ as the central component of the regulatory process, as does much of the regulation literature. However, this chapter follows Shelton (2000: 5) and others who consider that ‘[n]orms includes all rules of conduct’ and opts for ‘norms’. The notion of norms covers both hard and soft law, the central concepts of which are discussed below. At the same time the meaning of the concept of ‘institutions’ in political science ranges from multilateral treaties to informal social codes of conduct. However, the term ‘institutions’ often specifies not only norms, but also organizations (e.g. Keohane 1988), while others make a clear distinction between...
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