Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Shaffer: New Legal Realism and International Law

Gregory Shaffer (Univ. of California, Irvine - Law) has posted New Legal Realism and International Law (in Studying Law Globally: New Legal Realist Perspectives, vol. 2, Heinz Klug, Elizabeth Mertz & Sally Engle Merry eds., forthcoming). Here's the abstract:
Distinctive features of a new legal realist approach to international law are its commitment to empirical work, its assessment of the role of institutions in meditating the pursuit of social goals, its engagement with critical analysis in a self-reflective manner to question incoming biases, and its grounding in social problems in a pragmatist vein. The purpose of engaging in research in a new legal realist vein is to uncover issues and perspectives through empirical engagement about which we are otherwise ignorant, permitting our incoming predispositions (inevitable no matter how neutral we try to be) to be challenged and transformed. This is particularly important in a world characterized by constituencies with different priorities, perspectives, and opportunities to be heard. The chapter situates new legal realism in relation to the original legal realist movement in the United States and the current transnational context. It provides research examples of what a new legal realist approach to international law offers.