Games States Play: Towards an anthropology of international law

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding


Games States Play: Towards an Anthropology of International Law

Keywords: international legal anthropology, deconstruction, speech acts, liberalism, law and politics, international law and national interest.


Games States Play is an attempt to assess the political use by states of contemporary international law. The aim is to move towards an anthropological informed understanding of how international law works and why its significance in world politics and conflicts is declining, ignored and more subject to national political interests than being a an International Rule of Law. The article explores the political and theoretical domains of international legal structures, and deconstruct the boundaries between political and ideological frameworks and its influences on international law and state action. It is an attempt to show that the ideal of a world order based on the rule of law cannot sustain its proposition, as social and political conflicts must, and still are, solved by political means. Even though there is a legal rhetoric among international lawyers, that rhetoric must most of the time rely on contested political principles to be able to solve conflicts. Analyzing international law from an anthropological perspective is in line with a growing interest since several years, not only among lawyers for anthropological theory, but also among anthropologists for international legal theory and practice, particularly in the fields of human rights and conflict reconciliation efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2005
EventAnthropology of Law Workshop - London
Duration: 2005 Apr 20 → …


ConferenceAnthropology of Law Workshop
Period2005/04/20 → …

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Anthropology


  • social anthropology
  • deconstruction
  • international law
  • law and politics
  • legal anthropology


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