International law, guardian of the galaxy?
in Cinematic perspectives on international law
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Exploring the intersection of legal science and science fiction is hardly a novelty. Many publications have used beloved genre classics as a gateway to discuss topics as varied as cloning, climate change and criminal justice. In contrast to their colleagues at international relations departments, international lawyers seem less inclined to boldly go in this direction. This is unfortunate, as major themes can fruitfully be debated through sci-fi movies and television series, such as ‘intergalactic’ legal orders, the law of treaties, environmental law and so on. In an effort to fill this gap, the present chapter will delve into this world of speculative fiction and in so doing presents the following central thesis: future worlds portrayed in science fiction reproduce the tensions underlying contemporary theoretical approaches to the international legal order. This includes illustrations of constitutionalism, idealism and realism. The basic tenets of each doctrine will be outlined, after which movies and television series will be dissected that best convey the approach in question. In the final part, the chapter will seek to explain why contemporary approaches have come to be reproduced in science fiction and highlight some factors influencing the choice of certain theoretical approaches over others.

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