Chicago Journal of International Law

Start Page



This Essay suggests that predictions about the character of international law in the context of rising authoritarianism may be nuanced by paying closer attention to the influence of transnational civil society (TCS) on global affairs and normative development. While acknowledging that pro-liberal civil society has faced escalating threats from authoritarian governments in recent years, the Essay highlights the resilience, adaptability, and creativity of TCS, which finds ways to remain active and harness sources of strength despite those threats. However, TCS is not always pro-liberal, and there is evidence of strong anti-liberal civil society influence as well. Whether or not authoritarian international law takes hold therefore depends not only on the will of authoritarian heads of state to survive in power, but also on the ability of pro-liberal TCS to campaign fiercely and proactively for the defense of democracy and human rights.

Included in

Law Commons