Does Australia Really Want a Rules-Based International Order?

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Event details

IR Seminar Series

Date & time

Monday 14 August 2017


PSC Reading Room 4.27, Hedley Bull Centre (130), Garran Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


Professor Shirley Scott, UNSW Canberra


Bell School
+61 2 6125 8533

This seminar will enquire into the notable shift in rhetoric on the part of the Australian government from that of support for ‘international law’ to that of support for a ‘rules-based international order’. It will identify possible reasons for the change in language, including the difficulty of negotiating new multilateral treaties due to a shifting global distribution of power. It will then enquire into the possible implications, if any, of the change. Drawing on a theorisation of international law as ideology, the seminar will suggest that the change may not only indirectly reflect the shift in power but, perhaps unwittingly, contribute to it.

Professor Shirley Scott is Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at UNSW Canberra. Shirley’s research focuses on international law as a dimension of global governance, demonstrating the complex interplay between power politics and international law. Shirley has published on a range of subjects including the use of force, climate change, Antarctica, international law and Australian foreign policy, and the nature of the United States’ engagement with international law. Shirley is a member of the Advisory Council of the Asian Society of International Law. She is the author of a leading textbook in the field, International Law in World Politics: An Introduction (3rd edition, Lynne Rienner, 2017) as well as editor, with Charlotte Ku, of The UN Security Council and Climate Change (Edward Elgar, forthcoming 2017), and International Law, US Power: The United States’ Quest for Legal Security (Cambridge University Press, 2012). She is the book review editor and a member of the editorial board of the Asian Journal of International Law and a member of the editorial board of the Australian Journal of International Affairs and the Journal of International Law and International Relations.

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