Local Engagement with International Economic Law and Human Rights
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Local Engagement with International Economic Law and Human Rights

Edited by Ljiljana Biukovic and Pitman B. Potter

Providing an analysis of global regulation and the impact of international organizations on domestic laws, this collection grew out of a central objective to explore methods of domestic engagement with international trade and human rights norms, and the inherent difficulties in establishing balanced links between these two international law regimes. The common thread of the papers in this collection is a focus on the application of socio-legal normative paradigms in building knowledge and policy support for coordinating local performance with international trade and human rights standards in ways that are mutually sustaining.
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Chapter 7: Local communities, cultural heritage and international economic law

Valentina Vadi


What role do local communities play in the making of international economic law? Do local cultural heritage and values matter in the adjudication of international economic disputes? Where there is a conflict between the objective of global economic liberalization and the pursuit of local cultural policies, should the local give way to the global? Like other branches of international law, international economic law treats each state as one unit and does not typically focus on the different subparts within states. As a result, local communities do not appear in the text of international economic law treaties. Only recently have local communities gradually emerged in the adjudication of international economic disputes. Despite their gradual appearance, they still remain significantly absent or marginalized in mainstream international economic law discourse. This chapter thus aims to fill this gap in legal literature by investigating the impact of economic globalization on local communities and the role that local communities play in international economic law and adjudication. Socio-legal approaches to international economic governance reveal that, substantively, a clash of culture can emerge between an international economic culture aimed at productivity and development and local cultural practices. Procedurally, international economic courts may not be the most appropriate tribunals for disputes adjudicating cultural heritage-related issues. After briefly discussing these findings, this chapter highlights two different yet complementary avenues for integrating local communities’ concerns into the fabric of international economic law.

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