Reference Book: International Law and the Social Sciences
Wesley L. Gould & Michael Barkun,1970, 978-0-691-62100-5
International Law and Social Sciences, written by Gould and Barkun and published by Princeton University Press is one of the classics of international law. They have mentioned several topics regarding relationship between international law and social sciences such as politics, sociology, economy etc.
The scholars defined the purpose of the politics as “to develop an allocation of authority and control that succeeds in mobilizing the motives, behaviors, and physical resources required to consolidate and maintain a functioning system of public order”. On the other hand law is a closed, technical and apolitical system, although this idea is open to question. In many countries legal system is under direct influence of political figures and institutions. The very foundational relationship between politics and international law can be seen through the shared concepts, however taken concepts reflect a different understanding. The concepts taken for granted in international law-sovereignty, ambassador, refugee, citizenship, territorial waters etc. – are in fact symbolic representations of certain events and facts in the world of international relations.
Furthermore, international law has not merely has a peace-maintaining function, it has also had a war-regulating function. As for both functions, they are several forces that pave the way for norm generation in international law.
- Environmental influences;
- Situational influences;
- Conflict;Gould and Barkun have stated that “order is a combination of cooperation and managed conflict and law is an instrument for the attainment of both. Many international conflicts involve parties with not only disputed interests but also shared interests and it is on the basis of the latter that conflict resolution is usually effected.
- Claims and demands;
- Actions of deviants;
- Activities of private persons;
- Past acts or precedents;
- Impacts of subsystem changes;Writers tried to crystallize the impact of this force by asking those question: “What impact on international law resulted from 19th century unification and industrialization of Germany? In what ways has the internal development of Latin America countries particularly Mexico affected international law including the law of claims for mistreatment of aliens?”
- Cultural Factors and Value similarities;International law has always been bounded in space and time. This very fact requires to examine further the connection between: legal-cultural pluralism and international legal order. In this regard, writers underlined that “the ethnocentric identification of law per se with its Western manifestations cannot long survive when Western institutions confront indigenous legal forms. What must be recognized is that surface similarities aside non Western concepts of law express different social goals. The traditionally monolithic concepts of a globally relevant international law must give way to a transnational concepts of cultural and legal pluralism.”
Moreover, Gould and Barkun have made a clear comparison between positive law and customary law. In this regard, legislated, promulgated law is deductive, moving from a general rule to instances of behavior. Customary law is, by contrast, inductive, general rules arise out of aggregated instances of behavior. The rules then apply to the behavior but in the way they are formed there is a definite movement from the particular to general.
To this end, International Law and Social Sciences consisted of several topics focusing on common grounds and concepts; similarities and differences in between international law and social science. Although it has been published in 1970, it contains contentious issues which is still being discussed.