On the Psychological Face of Legal Obligation in International Politics: What Felt Obligation towards International Law Means and Why We Should Care

By A. Burcu Bayram.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: April 25, 2016 $US5.00

The concept of legal obligation has become ubiquitous in International Relations and International Law literatures in the last few decades. Yet our theoretical grasp of the construct remains significantly limited. There has been no analysis of what a sense of obligation toward international law means and how it operates. Drawing from legal philosophy, psychology, and international relations theory, this article offers a conceptual definition of the psychological dimension of legal obligation and provides an analytical framework to examine its implications for international politics. This paper contributes to a number of literatures. First, it adds to a large body of research on international law in global politics by clarifying the frequently evoked yet rarely theorized concept of legal obligation. Second, by advancing a fresh way to think about the authority of international law in global politics, this study adds to the bourgeoning literature on authority and legitimacy in social sciences. Finally, this work opens up new avenues of interdisciplinary research on international law.

Keywords: Legal Obligation, International Law, International Relations, Compliance, Psychology, Legal Philosophy

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies, Volume 11, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.1-18. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: April 25, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 861.106KB)).

Dr. A. Burcu Bayram

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA