Faculty Author Type

Current Faculty [Karin Mickelson]

Published In

Wisconsin International Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date



Developing Countries; Legal Discourse; International Law; Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL)


This paper sets out to question the conventional view of the Third World and international law, which tends to characterize Third World legal discourse as ad hoc and reactive. It considers whether it might be possible to identify "distinctive modes of thought and analysis" characteristic of a Third World approach to international law. In her analysis, the author begins by exploring various usages of the term "Third World," and explains the way in which it is used in this paper. She then sketches out Third World approaches to the subject areas of international economic law, human rights and the environment, each of which is followed by an examination of a relevant text by a Third World writer. Following her examination, she draws together common features of these texts that might be said to characterize an overarching "Third World approach" to international law. The paper concludes with an exploration of why it may be meaningful and useful to attempt to delineate such an approach.



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