Previously posted on SSRN.


Over the past few decades, scholars in a variety of fields – economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and international relations, among others – have made enormous strides studying the behavioral roots of international law by exploring individual motivations, describing organizational cultures, and mapping communities of practice. Taken together, the work of these scholars presents a complex, nuanced understanding of how international law works. However, these projects are rarely considered together: often separated by academic enclosures and focused on different subfields within international law, communication among scholars using different methodologies is restricted. The goal of this book is to break down some of these barriers and provide a glimpse of what an international law more focused on behavior and more engaged with these other fields might look like.

This introductory chapter aims to provide a roadmap in this effort by describing international law's long interest in behavior and the past attempts to explore that relationship, exploring the book's approach and laying out the contributions in each chapter, and beginning the process of bringing these insights together and outlining a series of takeaways for future study of international law as behavior.