Book review by Dr. Prabhakar Singh "The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law" published in the European Journal of International Law (Oxford University Press) - European Journal of International Law

March 03, 2017 | Dr. Prabhakar Singh

Synopsis:
 
Metaphorically speaking, should wringing out global history soaked in inequities and injustices not yield the theory of international law? Theorizing international law is an exercise, as it were, in milling the history of international law.1 The Oxford Handbook of International Legal Theory (the Handbook) advances an epistemic consensus that two tributaries of international legal theory – historical and ontological schools – currently exist. While the historical school deploys a history-as-theory lens, as Antony Anghie says (at 158), the ontological school argues that existing legal theories might inadvertently nourish imperialism. Nevertheless, both of the schools take a literary-narrative approach while offering analyses. Naturally, some occupy the ground in between the two approaches while a few live outside of the two schools. The Handbook invites us to compare the history of freeing markets in Asia with the theory of free markets, the latter being the alleged original intention of the European colonial companies (at 707).