Exploring International Law: Opportunities and Challenges for Political Science Research Academic Article uri icon


  • Four political scientists and one legal scholar explore questions concerning the place of international law in political science research. Paul Diehl identifies a “warm bodies problem” that has resulted from academic skepticism about the relevance of international law to international relations, creating a dearth of political scientists trained to conduct research in international law. Beth Simmons refutes Diehl's proposition that the warm bodies problem makes credible work difficult. Dorinda Dallmeyer notes how communication between lawyers and political scientists is complicated when a word like “norm” can mean completely different things to the two groups. She highlights an open mind and good listening skills as keys to success. Harold Jacobson uses an autobiographical approach to illustrate the influence of realism and its effects on international law as a field in political science, but draws from his collaborations with lawyers to demonstrate the rewards such efforts can provide.

author list (cited authors)

  • Ku, C., Diehl, P. F., Simmons, B. A., Dallmeyer, D. G., & Jacobson, H. K.

publication date

  • January 1, 2001 11:11 AM