Equality, Authority, and the Locus of International Order
AbstractThe puzzle of international society has long occupied International Relations (IR) theory, but it lends itself to a clearer articulation in legal positivist theory. On strict legal positivist terms, international society is defined as a compact of legal equals, states. However if states claim to belong to a social order they ought to recognise a common authority. Authority is a form of hierarchy—‘authoritative’ means ‘one that cannot be overridden’, ‘one of a higher standing’. The paradox of international society then is this: state relations are organised horizontally and each state is seen as independent from other states, but at the same time these relations seem to be organised hierarchically because each state is dependent on an authority other than its own. As I argue, the crux of the matter depends on clarifying where authority resides, not who holds it. After discussing authority in political theory (Jean Bodin, Thomas Hobbes, Carl Schmitt, Giorgio Agamben), the essay goes on to articulate a concept of international authority compatible with an equality-of-states principle. Crucially, this concept rests on what I call ‘rule-based legal positivism’ traceable to the writings of H.L.A. Hart. The question of international authority thus invites us to attend to the conversation of three traditions: IR theory, political theory, and legal theory.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Bath, Department of European Studies and Modern Languages in its series The Constitutionalism Web-Papers with number p0006.
Date of creation: 03 Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.bath.ac.uk/esml/
law; institutions; internationalism; normative political theory; rule of law; sovereignty;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sassan GHOLIAGHA).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.