Edited by Ljiljana Biukovic and Pitman B. Potter
Chapter 6: Demarcating the international community: where do international practices come from?
The attempt to locate the meeting point between local and international practices requires the identification of international practices. Along with the growing literature over the last decades aimed at theorizing international (legal) practices, this chapter focuses specifically on the notion of the international community. Although the term “international community” is widely used by scholars, practitioners and international political leaders and is an integral part of the common vocabulary, most of its usages either take its existence for granted or employ it to understand other phenomena such as international law or international legitimacy. Nonetheless, the mere idea that states can hold common standards of conduct as well as certain capacities to act in collective manners for collective goals – namely that states can convene and take part in a collective “We” of states – requires scrutiny. This chapter supplements socio-legal perspectives with political and historical ones to survey if and to what extent these are viable lenses to gauge the implications of states’ behavior in the framework of international practices. It then identifies and assesses the implications of the practical aspects of international conduct, especially its ability to use international practices as guidelines and demarcations for the array of legitimate conduct, while aiming to interlink them with local practices as a means to manage specific challenges in the international legal arena.
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