Mind the gap between scholars of international law and international relations

Moving beyond realism and positivism The current state of the disciplines Summing up

International law and international relations are distinct fields of study. Law and social science are distinct modes of inquiry. They are enterprises with different objectives and purposes. While this book acknowledges the importance of the collaboration that exists between international law and international relations scholars, it is important to understand that this collaboration does not replace the study of either subject as a distinct discipline. Indeed, the fruitfulness of interdisciplinary work would be mitigated if those working collaboratively were mere pale imitations of each other’s fields. Maintaining disciplinary identity and continuing to push separately the frontiers of international law and international relations are key to understanding the value of each mode of inquiry and the contribution it can make to understanding the broader questions of global governance. As this chapter will show, interdisciplinary collaboration is less an effort to adopt another’s methods than it is an ability to understand the additional insights provided by another form of inquiry and thereby enrich one’s own work. Such collaboration can facilitate the development of new insights and accelerate the creation of new knowledge. This can, in turn, contribute to a broader systematic understanding of particular aspects of today’s governing environment. The danger, however, is in becoming so focused on developing a mode of inquiry that conclusions become narrower and narrower, making system-wide evaluation and understanding harder.