Notice of New Publication — Robert Knox’s “Marxist Approaches to International Law” Bibliography

Robert Knox, Lecturer in Law at the University of Liverpool, has authored the bibliographical entry on Marxist approaches to international law for Oxford Bibliographies in International Law. It is available here. Those unable to access this site may also consult the pre-print version, a copy of which has been made available on The introduction to this bibliographical entry is as follows:

Ever since the 2008 financial crisis, Marxism has made something of a comeback in both the  public and scholarly spheres. That crisis–and the austerity that followed in its wake–has highlighted capitalism’s volatile nature, its stark class division and, perhaps, pointed to its limits. Yet, arguably, the “resurgence” in Marxist approaches to international law began earlier, with the 2003 Iraq War. That war–occurring in the wake of the 1999 Kosovo intervention and the 2001 “war on terror”–triggered a wave of theorizing about “empire” and “imperialism”. Crucially, given the importance of international law in justifying and opposing the war, questions increasingly came to be asked about international law’s own relationship to imperialism. This was the “classic” Marxist question, and it invited a reexamination of the Marxist tradition. Although Marxism has never been especially well represented in international law, these scholars were nonetheless able to draw on a wider Marxist tradition–encompassing specifically Marxist works in international law, as well as more general Marxist reflections about the nature of capitalism and its relationship to other social forms. Thus, although the Marxist tradition is one filled with disagreement, there are several common aspects to it. Above all, Marxist approaches are committed to grounding the law in its wider material context: understanding the ways in which political-economic relationships–and their attendant conflicts–shape and are manifested within (international) law. Moreover, the Marxist tradition has a number of canonical works–beginning of course with those of Marx and Engels–that serve as theoretical and  political lodestars. This bibliography aims to map out some of the most important Marxist scholarship in international law. It begins with a more general account of classical Marxist” theory–in both its more general and specifically legal variants. It then details some of the different theoretical approaches that have been drawn from the Marxist tradition. Following on from this, it picks out some of the key themes that have animated Marxist thinking about the law. Finally, it looks at how Marxists have engaged with specific areas of international law.