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Law as the Interplay of Ideas, Institutions, and Interests: Using Polyani (and Foucault) to ask TWAIL Questions

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image of International Community Law Review

This paper sketches out some preliminary thoughts on political economy that stem from problematics that emerge from TWAIL. The TWAIL story of international law is one of frustration and disappointment because of the constant exploitation of the Third World despite all the historic changes in international legal ideas and institutions, but it also a story of hope in the moments of resistance. In order to better debate how particular international institutions should be changed or whether particular international institutions should be renounced, I suggest that we need to explicate the theories of political economy embedded within these institutions. Drawing from Karl Polanyi's The Great Transformation, bringing alongside the work of Michel Foucault, I sketch out one way of conducting a study of international political economy by suggesting that we can think of law as the interplay of ideas, institutions, and interests.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada


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