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International Law on the Left


  • Page extent: 332 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.65 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521882552)

Against expectations that the turn away from state socialism would likewise initiate a turn away from Marxist thought, recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in Marxism and its reassessment by a new generation of theorists. This book pursues that interest with specific reference to international law. It presents a sustained and fascinating exploration of the pertinence of Marxist ideas, concepts and analytical practices for international legal enquiry from a range of angles. Essays consider the relationship between Marxism and critical approaches to international law, the legacy of Soviet international legal theory, the bearing of Marxism for the analysis of international trade law and human rights, and the significance for international legal enquiry of such Marxist concepts as the commodity, praxis and exploitation.

• Chapters cover diverse topics, giving authors a multi-layered understanding of the subject • Contributors differ in perspectives, thus illustrating the debate and the diverse positions within it • Contributors differ in analytical styles, and the subject is therefore treated with a variety of approaches


Introduction; 1. What should international lawyers learn from Karl Marx? Martti Koskenniemi; 2. An outline of a Marxist course on public international law B. S. Chimni; 3. The commodity-form theory of international law: an introduction China Miéville; 4. Positivism versus self-determination: the contradictions of Soviet international law Bill Bowring; 5. Marxism and international law: perspectives for the American (twenty-first) century? Tony Carty; 6. Toward a radical political economy critique of transnational economic law A. Claire Cutler; 7. Marxian insights for the Human Rights Project Brad Roth; 8. Marxian embraces (and de-couplings) in Upendra Baxi's Human Rights scholarship: a case study Obiora Okafor; 9. Exploitation as an international legal concept Susan Marks.


Review of the hardback: '… a kaleidoscopic introduction to nine different approaches to the issue of 'Marxist legacies', held together by a skilful preamble setting out the general conceptual framework. … the aim to unmask the law's ostensible neutrality is one of the recurring themes of the book … should undergraduates born at the twilight of the Soviet regime be bothered at all with Marxism and international law? The book provides nine different reasons why they might, ranging from the most iconoclastic opinions against the rule of law to the more positive faith in the emancipatory power of the law.' The Cambridge Law Journal

Review of the hardback: 'Those who contributed to this book must be congratulated for this work. Their research is detailed and comprehensive and their analysis is innovative.' Commonwealth Law Bulletin

Review of the hardback: '… this book is certainly a must-read for anyone with an interest in 'what international lawyers can learn from Karl Marx'.' German Yearbook of International Law


Martti Koskenniemi, B. S. Chimni, China Miéville, Bill Bowring, Tony Carty, A. Claire Cutler, Brad Roth, Obiora Okafor, Susan Marks

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