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6 - Critical International Legal Theory

from Part III - Critical Approaches to International Law

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2022

Jeffrey L. Dunoff
Affiliation:
Temple University, Philadelphia
Mark A. Pollack
Affiliation:
Temple University, Philadelphia
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Summary

To write of critical international legal theory (CILT) is to hunt a snark. As in Lewis Carroll’s famous poem, there is something important to be captured, but there lingers a very real possibility that its distinctive charms and potency might “vanish … away” in the telling. For like many of the bodies of work by which it has been informed, CILT does not denote any single movement, school or approach. Those identified with CILT are quite likely to reject such a label, or to opt for some alternative (“New Approaches to International Law” (NAIL), for instance, flourished during the 1990s). Those so identified often disagree about what it is that they may be up to in the international legal field, and what it is that they should aspire to achieve, even as they often collaborate with and support others so identified. As a consequence, it is far from clear that CILT exists in any consistently recognizable form.

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International Legal Theory
Foundations and Frontiers
, pp. 133 - 152
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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