Great Powers and Outlaw States
Unequal Sovereigns in the International Legal Order
By Gerry Simpson
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2004
Online Publication Date:July 2009
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511494185.005
States possess differing prerogatives in the international legal order. Some are Great Powers, capable of, and legally authorised to, project force in ways that would be unlawful for other states in the system. Other states are outlaws, denied the basic protections of sovereignty. In this chapter I define what I mean by legalised hierarchies before going on to discuss more explicitly the concepts of legalised hegemony and anti-pluralism. All of this prepares the ground for an historical account of the interaction between hierarchy and equality in the workings of the international system and in theories about that system (Chapters 4 to 10).
It should be clear already that I adopt an inter-disciplinary perspective on this relationship but I do not want to overstate the degree to which the book integrates the two disciplines of international law and international relations. This is primarily a work about international law. When I speak of hierarchy or equality, I am concerned mainly with their operation in legal settings or when they adopt legal forms. Nevertheless, I do not believe it is possible to approach these matters from an exclusively legal perspective. The book is partly about the impact of different theories of international order on the way institutions and doctrines are structured. These theories of international order cannot be described as either public international law or international relations theories (Chapter 1).
Reference Type: further-reading