Chicago Journal of International Law

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This Essay offers a critical yet constructive reading of the social science approach to international law. In seeking to frame international legal studies alongside the positivistic social sciences, the social science approach has suffered from important methodological deficiencies. Though appearing to be an objective science, the social science approach requires a scholar to make subjective decisions throughout the research process. A reductionistic social science approach to international law risks consolidating existing inequalities and imperialistic institutions in the name of objective science. A healthy interaction between international law and the social sciences requires enriched conceptions of both international law and the social sciences, as well as a proper perspective on their working relationship. This dynamic perspective recognizes the constitutive role of international law in carrying out the social science approach. It further emphasizes the importance of internalizing interdisciplinarity within international legal scholarship itself

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