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Title page for ETD etd-07292005-144622

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Henson, Raymond Scott
Author's Email Address raymond.s.henson@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-07292005-144622
Title Law and Order in the International COmmunity The Impact of International Law on Interstate Relations
Degree PhD
Department Political Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Jame L. Ray Committee Chair
C. Neal Tate Committee Member
Gary F. Jensen Committee Member
George J. Graham Committee Member
M. Donald Hancock Committee Member
  • international law
  • international relations
  • international court of justice
Date of Defense 2005-07-05
Availability unrestricted
This study combines scholarship from the political science and legal disciplines for the purpose of highlighting and explaining the impact of international law on interstate relations. The emphases are on dispute settlements, contentious issues and conflict, and state sovereignty. There are two primary contributions to this area made by the research: 1) comparisons and integration of concepts, definitions, categories and theory application between political and legal scholarship, and 2) measurements and analyses of relationships between international law and relationships among states.

The topics that demonstrate parallels and contrasts between political and legal discourse analyzed in this study include: sovereignty, universality, social norms, human rights, and compliance. The case study of the European Court of Justice illustrates three main categorizations applicable to political and legal cross-disciplinary research: power politics and states practices, utility and efficiency, prestige and reputation. Realism, liberalism, rational choice and constructivism are theoretical perspectives integral to the categories and analysis developed in the research.

The empirical relationships analyzed in the study focus on the International Court of Justice with findings in the area of usage, salience, and effect proving most useful. The research concludes that a significant change occurred from cases brought by powerful nations against weaker nations in the early period of the Court to cases brought by weaker nations against more powerful nations in the more recent period. This finding indicates that the Court is viewed less as an instrument of power politics and more as a means of obtaining equity under the law. Nations with contiguous borders and territorial disputes (statistically more likely to lead to war and considered more salient) have increased significantly over time indicating that the Court is becoming an alternative to the use of force even in highly salient issues. The research also indicates that nations are less likely to enter militarized disputes after having settled a case between them in the International Court of Justice.

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