Editorial: Populism and International Law: Global South perspectives

Fabio Costa Morosini, Lucas Lixinski


The rise of populist governments around the world has been a source
of concern for international legal scholars. As a result, the field of international law witnesses a range of academic publications analyzing recent populist movements and their impact on international law as we know it. These analyses have focused on different areas of international law and
their institutions, such as trade, environment, human rights, labor and
migration. Across these different contexts, populism has been equated with
authoritarianism, and a fundamental challenge to a liberal international legal
order. Further, international law is often approached in a binary/antagonistic fashion, either as a tool to ban populist-driven policies or as an instrument to allow such policies to thrive, and states are seen as part of a binary of either populist and challengers to international law, or democratic and favoring liberal internationalism. This scholarship therefore, while valuable, tends to miss more nuanced accounts of co-production of domestic regime (il)legitimacy and international ordering as part of a continuum that does not fit “either/or” accounts.


International law, populism, global south

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Tom Ginsburg, ‘Authoritarian International Law?’, The American Journal of International Law, vol. 114(2), 221-260 (2020), at 222

Brian J Preston, ‘The End of Enlightened Environmental Law?’, Journal of Environmental Law, vol. 31(3), 399-411 (2019).

Nienke Grossman, ‘Populism, International Courts, and Women’s Human Rights’, Maryland Journal of International Law, vol. 35, 101-123 (2020). See also Ginsburg, 221

Laurence R Helfer, ‘The ILO at 100: Institutional Innovation in an Era of Populism’, AJIL Unbound, vol. 113, 396-401

Cassese, The Human Dimension of International Law (OUP, 2008).

Heike Krieger, ‘Populist Governments and International Law’, The European Journal of International Law, vol. 30(3), 971–996 (2019), 973.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5102/rdi.v17i2.7273

ISSN 2236-997X (impresso) - ISSN 2237-1036 (on-line)

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