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International Law from Below
Development, Social Movements and Third World Resistance


  • Date Published: November 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521816465

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About the Authors
  • The emergence of transnational social movements as major actors in international politics - as witnessed in Seattle in 1999 and elsewhere - has sent shockwaves through the international system. Many questions have arisen about the legitimacy, coherence and efficiency of the international order in the light of the challenges posed by social movements. This book offers a fundamental critique of twentieth-century international law from the perspective of Third World social movements. It examines in detail the growth of two key components of modern international law - international institutions and human rights - in the context of changing historical patterns of Third World resistance. Using a historical and interdisciplinary approach, Rajagopal presents compelling evidence challenging debates on the evolution of norms and institutions, the meaning and nature of the Third World as well as the political economy of its involvement in the international system.

    • Introduces social movements literature in international legal scholarship including in international human rights law and international institutions
    • Joins critical legal scholarship on international law, and law and development
    • A major book-length work in a Third World stream of international legal scholarship
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Looking at the concept of democracy and human rights, the author provides a detailed examination of a little discussed perspective on not only development, but also non-Western approaches to international law.' Common Law World Review

    '… provides a significant intellectual spark for those in search of critical insight into a somewhat neglected topic of academic discourse. This well written, and exhaustively researched, resource is a must for all teachers and librarians whose role is to ensure completeness of coverage in their respective domains.' American Society of International Law

    'Important reading for members of social movements who hopefully will be inspired to create their own narrative about reshaping international law from below.' Voluntas

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2003
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521816465
    • length: 360 pages
    • dimensions: 237 x 157 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.692kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface and acknowledgements
    Part I. International Law, Development and Third World Resistance:
    1. Writing Third World resistance into international law
    2. International law and the development encounter
    Part II. International Law, Third World Resistance and the Institutionalization of Development: the Invention of the Apparatus:
    3. Laying the groundwork: the Mandate system
    4. Radicalizing institutions and/or institutionalizing radicalism? UNCTAD and the NIEO debate
    5. From resistance to renewal: Bretton Woods institutions and the emergence of the 'new' development agenda
    6. Completing a full circle: democracy and the discontent of development
    Part III. Decolonizing Resistance: Human Rights and the Challenge of Social Movements:
    7. Human rights and the Third World: constituting the discourse of resistance
    8. Recoding resistance: social movements and the challenge to international law
    9. Markets, gender and identity: a case study of the Working Women's Forum as a social movement
    Part IV. Epilogue

  • Author

    Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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