From International Law to Law and Globalization


International law’s traditional emphasis on state practice has long been questioned, as scholars have paid increasing attention to other important – though sometimes inchoate – processes of international norm development. Yet, the more recent focus on transnational law, governmental and non-governmental networks, and judicial influence and cooperation across borders, while a step in the right direction, still seems insufficient to describe the complexities of law in an era of globalization. Accordingly, it is becoming clear that “international law” is itself an overly constraining rubric and that we need an expanded framework, one that situates cross-border norm development at the intersection of legal scholarship on comparative law, conflict of laws, civil procedure, cyberlaw, and the cultural analysis of law, as well as traditional international law. Moreover, this new scholarship must be truly interdisciplinary, drawing on insights not only of international relations theorists, but also of anthropologists, sociologists, critical geographers, and cultural studies scholars. Such insights afford a more nuanced idea of how people actually form affiliations, construct communities, and receive and develop legal norms, often with little regard for the fixed geographical boundaries of the nation-state system. This Article refers to such a broader frame of analysis as “law and globalization.” Although “globalization” is, of course, a controversial term, the idea of law and globalization nevertheless provides a useful lens for viewing the plural ways in which legal norms are disseminated in the Twenty-first Century. This Article sketches the contours of what it might mean to emphasize law and globalization, rather than simply international law. It suggests four important ways in which the study of law and globalization enlarges the traditional focus of international law and then identifies ten areas of conceptual inquiry that are already coalescing within the scholarly literature to form the core of a study of law and globalization.


Communications Law | Comparative and Foreign Law | Computer Law | Conflict of Laws | Courts | Dispute Resolution and Arbitration | Human Rights Law | Intellectual Property Law | International Law | International Trade Law | Judges | Jurisdiction | Law and Society | Public Law and Legal Theory

Date of this Version

July 2005